An analysis of the hundreds of pages of bank statements by DailyMail.com shows Hunter’s Chinese business partners transferred a total $10,736,413.50 to a Cathay Bank account for Hudson West III LLC, a company jointly owned by Hunter’s firm Owasco PC and a CEFC subsidiary, between September 2017 and November 2018. As CEFC poured millions into the joint venture, Hunter and Jim extracted the cash, paying themselves hefty bonuses and $100,000 and $65,000 monthly salaries respectively. The bank records, numbering over 200 pages, were released on Tuesday by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, who have been investigating Hunter for almost four years. The records were sent by the senators to a Delaware prosecutor investigating Hunter’s potentially criminal business dealings with foreign nations. The lawmakers say the documents lay out ‘the Biden family’s connections to the Chinese regime and persons connected to its military and intelligence elements’
China ‘no longer deserves benefit of the doubt’: Bombshell Senate report concludes that COVID ‘most likely’ leaked from lab – as lawmakers point the finger at Beijing
- Policymakers said ‘substantial’ evidence pointing to lab accident has emerged
- But evidence for a natural spillover ‘is missing’ even after three years of probes
- Unwillingness to cooperate means China ‘should no longer get benefit of doubt’
- Findings come in an interim report pubished by the Senate Committee on Health
- Origins of Covid still shrouded in mystery with no concrete evidence either way
- But China has shut down independent probes into lab and silenced scientists
Senate report.The Covid pandemic was most likely the result of a lab leak, according to a bombshell
Policymakers said there was ‘substantial’ evidence of an accident at a research facility — while evidence for a natural spillover is ‘still missing’.
The interim report concluded that China ‘s unwillingness to cooperate or open up the lab in question meant it ‘no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt’.
GOP members of the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions reviewed hundreds of studies into the origins of Covid and interviewed ‘several dozen’ experts over the past 15 months.
Writing in the report, they conclude: ‘Based on the analysis of the publicly available information, it appears reasonable to conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.’
They add: ‘Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, critical evidence that would prove that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and resulting COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a natural zoonotic spillover is missing.’
The report accepts there is still crucial missing information about how the pandemic truly came to be — with no direct evidence for either natural or synthetic origin.
But ‘the lack of transparency and collaboration’ from China ‘prevents reaching a more definitive conclusion’, the senate committee adds.
‘The hypothesis of a natural zoonotic origin no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt, or the presumption of accuracy.’
Proponents of the lab leak theory — including former President Donald Trump were initially dismissed as conspiracy theorists or denounced as xenophobes.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to nearly 6.6 million deaths worldwide since early spring 2020. More than 629 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed since then.
It wreaked unparalleled havoc on the global economy as well, causing most people to change the way they work and shop.
North Carolina GOP Senator and panel ranking member Richard Burr said Thursday: ‘With COVID-19 still in our midst, it is critical that we continue international efforts to uncover additional information regarding the origins of this deadly virus.
‘Uncovering the answers to this critical question is imperative to our national and international ability to ensure that a pandemic of this size and scope does not happen again.
‘My ultimate goal with this report is to provide a clearer picture of what we know, so far, about the origins of SARS-CoV-2 so that we can continue to work together to be better prepared to respond to future public health threats. I believe this interim report does just that,’ Burr said.
The Covid pandemic was most likely the result of a lab leak, according to an explosive Senate report
Pictured: The Wuhan Institute of Virology, where crucial data was wiped by Chinese scientists
Virologist Shi Zheng-li – nicknamed the ‘Bat Lady’ – is pictured in the lab. She hunted down dozens of deadly Covid-like viruses in bat caves and studied them at the WIV
The question of whether the global outbreak began with a spillover from wildlife sold at the market or leaked out of the Wuhan lab just eight miles across the Yangtze River has given rise to fierce debate about how to prevent the next pandemic. New studies point to a natural spillover at the Huanan wildlife market. Positive swab samples of floors, cages and counters also track the virus back to stalls in the southwestern corner of the market (bottom left), where animals with the potential to harbor Covid were sold for meat or fur at the time (bottom right)
Reacting to the committee’s findings, the White Coat Waste Project campaign group said: ‘Once again, an authoritative Congressional report has concluded that taxpayer-funded gain-of-function experiments on animals in Wuhan likely caused the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Yet, nearly three years into the pandemic, the white coats responsible for probably causing and covering up this global disaster have not been held accountable.
‘Lab accidents are common and taxpayers in both parties shouldn’t be forced to pay for another pandemic.’
The report, helmed by Sen Burr, highlights there is some indirect evidence that Covid emerged naturally.
Policymakers point out that a third of Covid cases were linked back to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan – an animal slaughter market where exotic animals were kept in squalid conditions.
A series of studies published earlier this year appeared to trace the first cluster of cases back to one specific corner of the wet market, where animals known to harbor Covid including raccoon dogs, hedgehogs, rats and squirrels were kept.
Chinese scientists also found positive samples of an ancestral Covid strain on floors, counters and equipment in the market.
But to date ‘there is no published genetic evidence that Covid was circulating in animals prior to the start of the pandemic’, the Senate report says.
And the Republicans claim the samples collected from the market’s stalls are too similar to the virus that circulated in humans to have been shed by animals.
‘There also do not appear to have been subsequent spillovers of the virus’ from animals to humans or vice versa in the past three years.
‘It is also noteworthy that the earliest variants of SARSCoV-2 were well-adapted for human-to-human transmission,’ the report adds.
Policymakers said ‘substantial’ evidence pointing to a research accident has emerged while evidence for a natural spillover ‘is missing’
DID COVID LEAK FROM A WUHAN LAB? THE EVIDENCE FOR AND AGAINST
Evidence for Wuhan lab-leak theory
An article in the respected Science journal on May 14 2021 kick-started the surge in interest for the lab-leak theory.
Some 18 experts wrote in the journal that ‘we must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data’.
Later that month, a study by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr Birger Sørensen claimed it had ‘prima facie evidence of retro-engineering in China’ for a year.
The study included accusations of ‘deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data’ at Chinese labs.
It followed statements from the WHO Director General, US and EU that greater clarity about the origins of this pandemic is necessary and feasible to achieve.
Previously, the theory had been dismissed as conspiracy by most experts, partly because of its association with President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden in May 2021 ordered a full investigation into the origin of the pandemic virus and demanded scientists work out whether there is truth to the theory.
In December 2021, Harvard scientist Dr Alina Chan told the UK’s Science and Technology Select Committee that it is ‘reasonable’ to believe that Covid was genetically engineered in China.
She also said that the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up of the initial outbreak in Wuhan two years ago and attempts to sabotage the World Health Organisation’s inquiry into the origins of the pandemic made the lab-leak theory likely.
The head of the World Health Organization insisted just a day earlier that the theory that Covid emerged from a Wuhan lab has not been ruled out — as he said China should help solve the mystery out of ‘respect’ for the dead.
The body’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggested that Beijing had not cooperated fully as he urged more ‘transparency’ in the continuing investigation.
And a senior Government source claimed in June 2022 that the WHO boss privately believes the pandemic kicked off following a leak from a Chinese lab.
In September 2022, leading medical journal the Lancet admitted the virus may have been leaked from a lab, including those in the US.
Evidence against the theory
Most of the scientific community say the virus is most likely of natural origin.
A series of papers point to the virus evolving in animals before being transmitted to humans, in the same way as all other previously discovered coronaviruses.
The first study, published in Scientific Reports, showed some 47,000 wild animals from 38 species were sold across four markets in Wuhan between May 2017 and November 2019.
The authors, including Dr Chris Newman, an evolutionary ecologist at Oxford University, claimed the evidence showed the conditions for animal-to-human transmission were in place in Wuhan.
But they acknowledged there was no proof Sars-CoV-2 was present or originated in any of these animals.
A joint World Health Organization-China investigation also concluded it was ‘very likely’ the virus jumped from bats to humans via an as-yet-unknown intermediary animal.
And a June 2022 report by the WHO sets out that Covid most likely originated in bats before infecting humans.
Meanwhile, the report found there had been at least six research-related incidents involving Covid at biosecurity labs in China, Taiwan and Singapore.
It also cites claims the 1977 H1N1 flu outbreak was the result of a research-related incident, which remains a theory but has the backing of many scientists.
The committee writes: ‘In short, human errors, mechanical failure, animal bites, animal escapes, inadequate training, insufficient funding, and pressure for results can lead to an escape of virulent pathogens, which could, in turn, infect animals and humans and lead to a release of a virus from a lab.’
Questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology located just eight miles away from the wet market where early cases were clustered – remain unanswered.
Chinese officials were found to have wiped crucial databases from the lab and stifled independent investigations into the facility.
Researchers who fell ill with a mysterious flu-like virus months before the official Covid timeline were silenced or disappeared.
The WIV specialized in dangerous viruses and one of its chief scientists was nicknamed the ‘Bat Lady’ for her extensive work on coronaviruses like Covid.
It received funding from the federal Government to conduct gain-of-function research, which involves tinkering with viruses to make them more infectious or deadly to get ahead of future outbreaks.
WIV researchers actively sampled bats in Southern China and mainland Southeast Asia where the SARS-related coronaviruses most similar to SARS-CoV-2 have been collected and identified.
Viruses collected from these regions are up to 97 per cent similar overall to the Covid virus that spread around the world.
The Senate report found staff at the WIV wore ‘inadequate levels of personal protective equipment while handling bats’ after analyzing film and photo footage years before the pandemic.
The WIV had in 2018 unsuccessfully peitioned the federal government for funding to research SARS-related coronaviruses with potential to bind to human ACE2 receptors. The funding for the risky research was not ultimately granted to WIV researchers.
The lawmakers behind the report detailed evidence of biosafety and mismanagement concerns at the high security biocontainment labs, which had an expansive collection of coronaviruses including more than 1,400 samples of bat viruses from the wild.
The committee included insight from a WIV official dating back to May 2019 who warned: ‘Currently, most laboratories lack specialized biosafety managers and engineers. In such facilities, some of the skilled staff is composed by parttime researchers. This makes it difficult to identify and mitigate potential safety hazards in facility and equipment operation early enough.’
Efforts by the WIV to bolster their biosafety protocols were repeatedly stymied by what officials called the ‘stranglehold problem,’ which meant a lack of access to advanced foreign biosafety technologies and materials.
The report also describes researchers’ high pressure work environments that could affect how careful they are in high security labs working closely with pathogenic viruses.
It included excerpts from a 2019 report written by the WIV’s BSL4 laboratory team in which researchers said ‘Owing to [the fact] that the subject of research at the P4 lab is highly pathogenic microorganisms, inside the laboratory, once you have opened the stored test tubes, it is just as if having opened Pandora’s Box.’
They added that ‘Although [we have] various preventive and protective measures, it is nevertheless necessary for lab personnel to operate very cautiously to avoid operational errors that give rise to dangers.’
The committee also enumerated the unique qualities of the coronavirus and the way it spread early on in the pandemic that suggests the pathogen was not a product of natural spillover.
‘A research-related incident is consistent with the early epidemiology showing rapid spread of the virus in Wuhan, with the earliest calls for assistance being located in the near the WIV’s original campus in central Wuhan,’ the report said.
It went on, ‘It also explains the low genetic diversity of the earliest known SARS-CoV-2 human infections in Wuhan, because the likely index case, would be an infected researcher, is the likely primary source of the virus in Wuhan.’
Scientists who support the theory that the coronavirus jumped from animals to humans argue that an intermediate host was probably necessary to increase the virus’ chances of being able to infect and replicate in humans so effectively.
But scientists have yet to identify that intermediate host, which authors of the report said pokes a hole in the zoonotic spillover theory.
The senators concluded, ‘Advocates of a zoonotic origin theory must provide evidence … as was demonstrated for the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak. There needs to be verifiable evidence that a natural zoonotic spillover actually occurred, not simply that such a spillover could have occurred.’
The Senate GOP’s report comes just days after researchers in the US and Germany found the ‘strongest piece of evidence’ yet that the virus was man-made.
After studying the virus’s genome, they found ‘peculiar patterns’ visible in the building blocks of the pandemic-causing virus, which they say are hallmark signs that it was manufactured. The team described it as having a ‘synthetic fingerprint’.
China’s official pandemic timeline of the coronavirus pandemic and the evidence that undermines it
Dec 8, 2019 – Earliest date that China has acknowledged an infection
Dec 31 – China first reported ‘pneumonia of unknown cause’ to the World Health Organisation
Jan 1, 2020 – Wuhan seafood market closed for disinfection
Jan 7 – President Xi Jinping discusses coronavirus outbreak with his politburo
Jan 9 – China makes public the genome of the coronavirus
Jan 11 – China reported its first death
Jan 13 – First case outside China is confirmed
Jan 20 – China’s National Health Commission confirms human-to-human transmission
Jan 23 – Wuhan locked down
Jan 31 – WHO declared ‘outbreak of international concern’ as China admitted having thousands of cases
Feb 23 – Italy reports cluster of cases in first major outbreak in the West
May 29 – China claims virus did not originate in wet markets but in Chinese bats before it jumped to humans via an ‘intermediary animal’
July 31 – Chinese researcher admits some coronavirus experiments conducted in lower biosafety labs
Dec 16 – WHO announces it will travel to Wuhan to probe origins of virus in January
Jan 5, 2021 – China denies entry to WHO’s investigatory team
Feb 9 – WHO dismisses theory virus leaked from lab – backs China’s claim it was imported from frozen meat
Mar 28 – Former US national security officials says intel shows ‘there was a direct order from Beijing to destroy all viral samples’ at Wuhan lab
2012: Six miners struck down with with a mysterious flu-like illness in Mojiang cave in Yunnan.
They were found to have been infected with the closest known relative to Covid, sharing 97% of its genes.
Samples RATG13 are sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to be studied.
Sep 2019– Blood samples are taken in a lung cancer screening trial in Italy which later test positive for coronavirus
Oct – Whistleblower Wei Jingsheng claims China deliberately spread Covid at The World Military Games in Wuhan in October, two months before the rest of the world knew about the virus
Oct – Xi Jinping’s authoritarian regime tried desperately to shut down whistle-blowers like Mr Jingsheng. Any references made in social media about a new SARS virus or ‘outbreak’ were censored
Oct-Dec – Rise in ‘flu and pneumonia’ cases in northern Italy which could be linked to coronavirus
Nov – Whistleblower Mr Jingsheng claims he took his concerns about the military games to senior figures within the Trump administration but was ignored
Nov – Intelligence report passed to agencies in Washington claims three members of staff at the Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital treatment in November 2019 after experiencing symptoms consistent with Covid
Nov – Sewage samples taken in Florianópolis, Brazil, suggest virus was present
Nov 10 – Milanese woman has a skin biopsy, producing a sample which later shows signs of the virus
Nov 17 – Leaked documents suggest case detected in China on this date
Dec – Doctors in China, including Li Wenliang, report existance of new type of respiratory infection. But Chinese police arrested him and eight of his colleagues for questioning – instead of publicising reports and warning public
Dec 1 – Chinese researchers report an infection on this date in a peer-reviewed study, but it has not been acknowledged by Beijing
Dec 18 – Sewage samples taken in Milan and Turin suggest virus was circulating in the cities
Dec 26 – Samples analysed suggested a new type of SARS was circulating as early as December 26, but Wuhan was not locked down until January 22
Jan 2020 – Sewage samples from Barcelona suggest virus was in the city
Jan 3 – Covid-19 infections begin sweeping across other nations including the U.S. as the WHO labelled the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
May – Scientists at a government lab in California concluded that Covid-19 may have escaped from a facility in Wuhan
July – WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China failed share vital raw data during their investigation in Wuhan. China rebuffed those claims
June 2021: Leading US virus expert Dr Anthony Fauci was warned Covid may have been engineered in a lab, emails publicly released reveal.
August: The world’s first Covid-19 patient may have been infected by a bat while working for a Wuhan lab in China, WHO chief Dr Peter Embarek said
August: A damning report by Republicans in the US claims coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, shortly after the facility tried to improve air safety and waste treatment systems
The report also cited ‘ample evidence’ that lab scientists were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.
October: US intelligence review into origins of pandemic does not reach a judgement on whether the virus emerged via animal-to-human transmission or a lab leak.
Chinese officials branded the report ‘political and false’.
January 2022: Leaked emails from top UK scientist Sir Jeremy Farrar showed he admitted in February 2020 that it was a ‘likely explanation’ that the virus could be man-made. But he went on to brand the theory a ‘conspiracy’.
February: Sir Farrar is called to be interviewed under oath at the US Congress. Officials want him to explain why he shifted away from the lab leak theory.