Mar 31, 2023 - Health

House GOP's next COVID target

Illustration of a target in the shape of a virus cell with an arrow in the bullseye.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The House subcommittee probing the government's COVID response will hold a hearing in April about intelligence collected by the U.S. that could shed light on COVID's origins, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The committee plans a series of hearings that will build a narrative arc about COVID origins — including intelligence, science and use of the media, a source familiar with committee leaders' thinking tells us.

Two witnesses are expected at the April 18 hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic:

  • John Ratcliffe, who was former President Trump's last director of national intelligence.
  • David Feith, who was deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs under Trump.

Ratcliffe and Feith are expected to be asked about a State Department Fact Sheet — issued in the final days of the Trump administration — that included declassified intelligence related to COVID origins.

Between the lines: Part of the committee's investigation will focus on accusations the media downplayed the lab-leak theory.

  • The committee also may look at Twitter's handling of skepticism of the CDC.

U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided on the origins of the virus. None have reached a conclusion with a high degree of confidence.

  • Many scientists, meanwhile, say COVID most likely originated naturally.

The committee held its first hearing March 8. More will be held after the mid-April session on intelligence.

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