America First Legal, a judicial outfit launched by former top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, sued President Joe Biden’s State Department on Wednesday over the termination of an investigation into COVID-19’s origins launched by the Trump administration in 2020.
The suit seeks to force the administration to hand over “records explaining President Biden’s order to stop an independent investigation into the origins of the COVID pandemic.”
That investigation, carried out under the purview of then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was shut down in late May in conjunction with the launch of a second 90-day investigation, carried out by the sitting intelligence community, into the virus’s origins.
The second investigation’s 90-day deadline expired earlier this week, and Biden himself was briefed on Tuesday that the intelligence community had not reached a definitive conclusion on whether or not the coronavirus pandemic originated naturally or in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a hypothetical phenomenon commonly referred to as the “lab leak” theory. A redacted version of the report is expected to be provided to the public in the coming days.
“I would say it typically takes a couple of days if not longer to put together an unclassified version to present publicly, and obviously, the president would be briefed first on any findings,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at Monday’s briefing. “So, I don’t have an exact date for you, but I will expect it will be several days, a couple to several days after tomorrow.”
Former President Donald Trump and a number of his top advisers began publicly endorsing the lab leak hypothesis in 2020, and a number of senior Biden administration officials claimed in 2021 that the theory was, at the least, plausible and required an additional investigation.
“Once again, Joe Biden has sided with China at the expense of the American people. He wasted no time canceling the Trump administration’s independent investigation of COVID-19 origins, instead replacing it with a Biden-controlled investigation that did nothing and found nothing — by design — shielding China from any accountability,” former Trump chief of staff and current America First Legal board member Mark Meadows said in a Wednesday statement announcing the group’s suit. “Thousands of Americans had their lives permanently altered because of a pandemic released out of Wuhan, and we intend to help those Americans get the answers they deserve, whether Joe Biden does his job or not.”
Chinese officials reacted with derision to Tuesday reports on the Biden investigation’s inconclusive findings.
“The US intelligence community has a poor record in history,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a statement. “It is impossible that it would draft the report based on facts and truth. This report will be nothing but a patchwork of so-called evidence based on predetermined conclusions, with the aim of shifting blames onto others. It is not credible at all.”
Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, told the Global Times, a newspaper funded and operated by the Chinese Communist Party, that the review was “ridiculous.”
“It’s unsurprising that Biden would end up with no definitive answer, but if Biden seeks another investigation, it will downgrade his administration’s credibility and make it a laughingstock,” Yang added.
You can read America First Legal’s complaint here .