Who needs to wait for a commission?
Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the key players in the Trump impeachment trial, said in an interview Sunday that his House Intelligence Committee is already reviewing information on the coronavirus outbreak that may have been presented to the White House earlier this year to determine if the administration overlooked any key data.
Schiff told MSNBC’s “AM Joy” that his committee is looking into “our intelligence holdings.”
“What did the intelligence community make us aware of at the end of last year or earlier this year? Other committees are doing like analyses.” He told the program that his committee is doing “real-time oversight.”
His revelation about the oversight came after he presented plans to conduct a 9/11-style commission into the country’s coronavirus response. He insisted that the 9/11-style commission would be bipartisan, but Republicans have questioned the motive. Schiff proposed the commission earlier this month that would allow subpoena power.
Reports have indicated that U.S. intelligence began reporting on a mysterious virus that was spreading in Wuhan back in November.
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“It is very important, I think, in reviewing the intelligence component to this to realize the intelligence piece is just one piece of the warnings coming to the administration. A lot of those warnings were in the public domain. They came from public health organizations, like WHO or CDC or his own National Security Council, and ignored those warnings,” he said.
Schiff’s interview came after a lengthy New York Times report published on Saturday criticized President Trump’s response to the virus and claimed that he “played down the seriousness,” despite hearing from experts “deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies.
Trump has long maintained that his early decisions in the fight of coronavirus saved countless American lives. He often points to his call to ban flights from China in February, despite facing backlash in the media.
The Trump administration and Republicans have blamed Beijing for not disclosing all the relevant information about how severe the virus was in Wuhan until it was too late.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., one of the toughest critics on China, told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” last week that it is essential that the U.S. holds China’s feet to the fire over coronavirus.
Blackburn said that there is evidence that Beijing knew about the virus outbreak in Wuhan for 51 days before issuing an alert. Many Republicans claim that precious time was lost that could have been devoted to preparing for the virus.
Some Republicans say Democrats are doing their best to find fault with Trump while the country should be coming together to meet the challenge of the virus outbreak. Schiff has insisted that the commission would be assembled after the virus burns out.
“After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes,” Schiff tweeted earlier this month. “Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic.”