Pompeo said in an interview with Breitbart that was broadcast Saturday that “we know it started in Wuhan, but we don’t know where or from whom, and those are important things.”
“We have repeatedly requested that the team come in to help them identify where the virus came from,” the secretary said.
Pompeo for weeks openly supported the theory that the virus that had infected more than 1,400,000 Americans came from the Wuhan Virology Institute, claiming in an interview earlier this month that there is “very large evidence” and “a lot of evidence” this is the problem. He later admitted that he could not confirm its origin and that the evidence that it came from “around” the Wuhan laboratory “could be wrong.”
While Trump also claims that he has seen evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan laboratory, assessments by scientists and those circulating among US intelligence allies stated that “it is highly unlikely” the virus originated in the laboratory. The US intelligence community said they were looking for both possibilities.
The Chinese government has pushed back the claim, describing it as a “blemish” intended to increase the chances of Trump’s re-election.
Pompeo repeatedly condemned Beijing for its lack of transparency regarding a pandemic.
In his interview with Breitbart, Pompeo stressed that knowing where the plague began was the “key” to scientists working to develop vaccines, and blamed China for “trying … to undermine the central understanding of transparency that every country must fulfill.”
Pompeo also confirmed that The US intends to punish China for a global pandemic, but noted that “the exact mechanism we will choose – I want to make sure (Trump) has the opportunity to get full direction and make that decision.”
CNN reported in late April that the Trump administration was formulate a long-term plan to punish China in various fields for this deadly plague. Various sources in the administration say they are considering various tools, including sanctions, canceling US debt obligations and drawing up new trade policies, to explain to China, and to everyone, where they feel the responsibility lies.
Nectar Gan, Stephen Collinson, and Kylie Atwood from CNN contributed to this report.