Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell. Photo: Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced in a statement Thursday that it is investigating whether the coronavirus pandemic began through human contact with wild animals in China or if it was the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan.

Why it matters: The ODNI said it concurs with the scientific consensus that the virus was "not manmade or genetically modified." The statement comes after some U.S. officials have promoted an unsubstantiated theory linking the virus to an infectious-disease lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The big picture: Senior Trump administration officials have pushed U.S. spy agencies to find evidence supporting the theory, the New York Times reports.

  • China has denied the allegation, but senior Chinese officials have also pushed their own theories linking the coronavirus to a military laboratory in the U.S.
  • The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S.-China relations spiraling, alarming analysts who say the two countries are at their most dangerous point in decades, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports.

Go deeper: What we know about the Chinese lab at the center of the coronavirus controversy

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Updated Aug 5, 2020 - World

China says U.S. is "endangering peace" with high-level visit to Taiwan

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally that they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.