President Donald Trump contradicted his own intelligence community on Thursday by asserting that he had evidence the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” he said.

Hours before Trump’s comments, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement saying it continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” but that no conclusion has been made yet.

While Trump noted there are “a lot of theories” that he would consider, he appeared to hope that China would cooperate in its research.

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“China may tell us,” Trump said.

Trump has been promoting the unproven theory for weeks now, despite medical experts finding that nothing about the genetic sequence of the virus indicates it was man-made.

“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” the first and corresponding author on the paper, Kristian Andersen, Ph.D. wrote in a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Other Trump administration officials have latched onto the theory, as China is an easy scapegoat.

“The mere fact that we don’t know the answer — that China hasn’t shared the answers — I think is very, very telling,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News in April.

He added, “We know that there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was.”


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