U.S. House Committee Launches Inquiry Into Trump Administration’s WHO Funding Suspension; Administration Cuts Funding To EcoHealth Alliance; President’s National Security Briefings Repeatedly Warned About Early Outbreak

CNN: House Foreign Affairs Committee launches inquiry into Trump’s decision to suspend World Health Organization funding
“The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Monday he is opening an inquiry into the Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding to the World Health Organization. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Eliot Engel wrote that the administration’s explanation for suspending the U.S. contribution in the midst of a pandemic was ‘inadequate.’ The New York Democrat said his committee ‘is determined to understand the reasons behind this self-defeating withdrawal from global leadership’…” (Hansler, 4/27).

POLITICO: Trump cuts U.S. research on bat-human virus transmission over China ties
“The Trump administration abruptly cut off funding for a project studying how coronaviruses spread from bats to people after reports linked the work to a lab in Wuhan, China, at the center of conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 pandemic’s origins. The National Institutes of Health on Friday told EcoHealth Alliance, the study’s sponsor for the past five years, that all future funding was cut. The agency also demanded that the New York-based research nonprofit stop spending the $369,819 remaining from its 2020 grant, according to emails obtained by POLITICO…” (Owermohle, 4/27).

Washington Post: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
“U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials. The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats. … But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material…” (Miller et al., 4/27).

Fox News: Coronavirus crisis: Behind the effort to push the World Health Assembly to open formal probe into the WHO (McKay, 4/27).

New York Magazine: In the Midst of a Pandemic, Trump Continues to Cut Funding That May Prevent Pandemics (Stieb, 4/28).

Reuters: Taiwan pushes WHO participation in rare ministerial call with U.S. (Blanchard, 4/27).

Reuters: WHO says U.S. federal coronavirus plan is clear and science-based (Farge/Nebehay, 4/27).

Washington Post: Trump’s WHO funding freeze during coronavirus pandemic gives China an opening to expand its influence (Rauhala, 4/27).

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