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GOP lawmakers launch probe into US funding of Wuhan lab

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Ranking members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Judiciary Committee announced Friday that they will be investigating how the Wuhan Virology Institute spent taxpayer funds. The National Institute of Health awarded grants and funds in 2019.

Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote a letter to announce the probe. Their investigative scope includes the NIH, and the EcoHealth Alliance, which received the funding and subsequently awarded it to the WVI. Meanwhile, in the summer of 2020, the NIH wrote a letter to EcoHealth Alliance because of rising concern over the relationship with WVI. As a result, the NIH suspended grants. But, WVI had already received $600,000.

“There is mounting evidence the COVID-19 pandemic started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Chinese Communist Party covered it up. If U.S. taxpayer money was used to develop COVID-19, conduct gain of function research, or assist in any sort of cover-up, EcoHealth Alliance must be held accountable,” the letter from Jordan and Comer read.

They add, “It is incumbent upon grant recipients to ensure their work is performed within the scope of the grant, advances our national interest, and protects our national security. It is vital to understand if U.S. taxpayer funds were at all affiliated with a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans so we can prevent similar future catastrophes.”

In the probe, the lawmakers are asking for all communications between all three parties to sort out exactly how the WVI spent the money. They also demanded a briefing by June 4th.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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VIDEO: Chinese military plane comes ‘dangerously’ close to U.S. aircraft over South China Sea

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The United States Army recorded and released unnerving video of a close encounter with a Chinese jet over the South China Sea. The Chinese military plane came “dangerously” close to the U.S. military aircraft in the international airspace last week, the U.S. military announced on Thursday.

The Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), the command responsible for overseeing U.S. operations in the area, said in a statement that the encounter occurred on December 21, during which a Chinese Navy J-11 fighter jet flew within 10 feet (3 meters) of a U.S. Air Force RC-135, a reconnaissance plane with about 30 people on board.

According to a U.S. military spokesperson, the Chinese jet came within 10 feet of the airplane’s wing, but 20 feet from its nose, causing the U.S. aircraft to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision.

 

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