Top House intel Republican says committee will subpoena intel community over COVID origins

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The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee says Republicans will issue subpoenas to the intelligence community to gather information about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GOP Rep. Mike Turner told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge that Republicans plan to examine the intelligence behind the virus’ origins, which they are not currently able to access. Republicans this week released a report on the intelligence community’s look at the pandemic’s origins this week. Democratic investigators on the committee also released their own report alleging that intelligence agencies may have lost a key opportunity to determine the virus’ origins by not securing resources earlier. 

“We will be issuing subpoenas on these materials and on this information,” Turner told Herridge during the interview, which aired on CBS News Friday. He said Republicans on the committee are interested in the information that formed the basis of the intelligence community’s report on COVID-19, which was divided on the virus’ origins. 

“When the Biden administration’s report was issued from the intelligence community, in group, we asked, ‘Show us the information that you looked at that substantiates your conclusions and your assessment,'” Turner said.

All of the agencies agreed that there were two possible hypotheses – natural exposure to an infected animal or a laboratory-associated incident. 

Republicans will have subpoena power after they take the House in January, and Turner will likely be the committee’s chairman. Republicans are planning to hold hearings on the pandemic’s origins, some of which Turner said won’t be public. 

On the topic of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Turner said Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be “doubled down” rather than reaching a breaking point, with no intention of changing course. Turner believes Russia will recover some of its strength and resources over the winter. 

Putin is “not going to just look at the failure that’s happening in Ukraine and change at all,” Turner said. After the winter, Turner predicted, Putin “will have regrouped — he will have … replenished his military, and the conflict will probably continue.”

Herridge asked whether the risk of nuclear war is increasing, given the Russian military’s recent release of a video depicting a possible intercontinental ballistic missile being primed. 

“I think it’s been high and constant,” Turner responded. “And this is this is a thing that I believe needs to to change our policy and European policy as we go into the next year.” He said that the U.S. and allies had wanted “to be hesitant to deploy missile defense technology” in order to maintain a stance of deterrence.  

Turner said the U.S. and Europe need to step up to deploy missile defense technology to protect the West and the U.S. 

The interview aired Friday on CBS News’ streaming network show “Weekender.” 

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