Undermining intel, Donald Trump claims he has proof virus is from Wuhan lab

Published: May 02, 2020, 12:05 IST | Agencies | Washington D.C.

Despite his own intelligence officials denying his theory, US president threatens to impose new tariffs against China

Over 2,000 employees work at the US Postal Service plant in Los Angeles amid the pandemic. Pic/ AFP
Over 2,000 employees work at the US Postal Service plant in Los Angeles amid the pandemic. Pic/ AFP

US President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened new tariffs against Beijing as he claimed to have seen evidence linking the novel Coronavirus to a lab in China's ground-zero city of Wuhan. Trump's comments undercut a rare public statement from his own intelligence community on Thursday which stated no such assessment has been made by them whether the COVID-19 outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.

'I have evidence'

At his daily White House briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday, Trump was asked by a reporter: "Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?" "Yes, I have. Yes, I have," Trump said. He, however, refused to provide any details, except for saying that investigations are on and it would be out soon.

Asked what gave him a high degree of confidence that the virus originated from the WIV, he said, "I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said on Thursday it concurs with the "wide scientific consensus" regarding COVID-19's natural origins. The US has 1,069,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

WHO blamed for pandemic

Trump also blamed the World Health Organisation for the pandemic. "I think the WHO should be ashamed of themselves because they're like the public relations agency for China," he said. Trump, however, did not hold his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping responsible for the global outbreak.

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