Chinese Virus Likely Originated at Wuhan Lab

The U.S. intelligence community conceded Wednesday that China is still keeping America in the dark about the true origins of the novel coronavirus, stressing that it may have accidentally leaked out from a lab in Wuhan, China.

American diplomats cited the Wuhan lab for subpar safety standards in 2019. The lab specializes in modifying bat coronavirus to create synthetic viruses that can make human beings ill.

During a hearing Wednesday on worldwide threats to U.S. national security, Marco Rubio from Florida, the top Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hosting the event, grilled the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, the CIA Director William Burns, and the National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Paul Nakasone on the origins and true source of the coronavirus.

Rubio noted that there were two competing hypotheses for the origins of the virus, telling the witnesses:

The official answer for why it’s happened — and it is a possible answer — is that this was a new zoonotic transmission; it crossed over from an animal into a human. But there’s another hypothesis which is plausible. And that is that there was an accident at a laboratory that ended up impacting the world the way we’ve seen. And there’s reason to believe that’s plausible.

In highlighting the plausibility that COVID-19 may have originated from a lab accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology known for modifying bat coronavirus to create synthetic viruses known to make human beings ill, Rubio declared:

Number one, researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have demonstrated from their publication record that they were skilled at techniques in which they genetically modified bat coronaviruses in order to create new man-made viruses that were highly capable of creating disease in human beings,” Rubio pointed out in highlighting the hypothesis that COVID-19 may have originated from a lab accident.

Second, there have been several lab leaks documented that have occurred in China, including one involving the original SARS virus. And third, U.S. diplomats who visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2019 warned of the risk of the subpar safety standards that they observed.

He then went on to grill the witnesses, asking them a two-part question. Rubio asked:

We can’t conclude definitively that the virus that causes COVID-19 emerged naturally until there’s a transmission chain [that identifies] how the virus evolved and transmitted between species. And to date, no such path of zoonotic transmission has been definitively identified. Are those two things accurate?”

DNI Haines, the head of the U.S. intelligence community, responded:

It is absolutely accurate the Intelligence Community does not know exactly where, when, or how COVID-19 virus was transmitted initially. And basically, components have coalesced around two alternative theories.

The scenarios are it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, or it was a laboratory accident as you identified. And that is where we are right now, but we’re continuing to work on this issue and collect information, and, to the best we can, essentially to give you greater confidence in what the scenario is.

Echoing complaints from the Trump administration, President Joe Biden’s CIA Director Burns conceded that Communist China has been reluctant to provide the U.S. with the information it needs to determine the origins of the virus on its own.

Director Burns testified:

The one thing that’s clear to us and to our analysts is that the Chinese leadership has not been fully forthcoming or fully transparent in working with the W.H.O. or in providing the kind of original, complete data that would help answer those questions. So we’re doing everything we can using all the sources available to all of us on this panel to try to get to the bottom of it.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the NSA director, added that his agency is working with the international community and academia to gather and analyze information about the origins of the coronavirus.

President Joe Biden reversed his predecessor’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), a U.N. agency, for helping China hide the extent of the virus at the beginning stages, allowing the deadly and contagious disease to spread across the world.

Still, even the Biden administration has expressed skepticism of the W.H.O’s investigation into the virus’s origins.

Like its predecessor, the Biden Administration wants to deploy experts from America to judge the origins of the virus, particularly after a joint study from the W.H.O. and China determined it is “extremely unlikely” the pandemic virus occurred through a laboratory leak.

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Millions Fail to Satiate Hunter Biden’s Hunger for Drugs, Prostitutes

Hunter Biden owes massive credit card debt after living like a high roller with access to millions of dollars linked to business dealings overseas that proved insufficient to satisfy his ravenous appetite for drugs, prostitutes, and luxury cars, the Daily Mail reported Friday.

The Daily Mail published a bombshell report surrounding the potentially  incriminating contents of a laptop purportedly owned by Hunter that was dropped off at a Delaware repair shop and eventually given to the FBI.

On Friday, the Daily Mail unveiled contents of the laptop that go well beyond the emails first reported by the New York Post in October 2020 detailing Hunter’s lucrative overseas business deals that helped him lead a drug-addled lifestyle, with prostitutes, and luxurious rides.

Ultimately, his lifestyle left him broke, unable to support his drug and prostitute habit and support his family.

The Daily Mail summarized its long bombshell report, noting:

  • Hunter Biden’s wild spending left him with huge debts to credit card companies and desperate to avoid jail for unpaid taxes, can reveal
  • Pictures, documents, emails and texts obtained by from Hunter’s laptop reveal he spent thousands of dollars on strippers and prostitutes
  • Biden even threatened to take $20,000 out of his daughter’s education savings account
  • Pictures found on the laptop show what appears to be thousands of dollars worth of crack bagged up on a scale, and Hunter naked and in bed with women
  • The numerous expenses left him strapped for cash when it came to supporting his new family
  • In an April 2017 email, [Hunter’s company] Rosemont Seneca Vice President wrote to Hunter detailing how he faced total bills of $476,231.60, including $60,467 on three credit cards and $320,417.85 in unpaid federal taxes

In 2019, the FBI seized the laptop in connection to a money-laundering scheme. Last December, Hunter and his then-president-elect father admitted that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware was investigating the younger Biden over his federal taxes.

Hunter reportedly made between $50,000 and $100,000 monthly working for corruption-linked Ukrainian gas conglomerate Burisma between 2014 and 2019, helping him fill his coffers with at least $6,070,150 from 2013 to 2016, the Daily Mail found.

Nevertheless, the news outlet noted, “Leaked emails reveal how Hunter Biden was desperate to avoid jail for unpaid taxes – after blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury cars, prostitutes, drugs, and designer clothing.”

According to the documents obtained by the Daily Mail, Hunter kept a 2014 Porsche, an Audi, a 2018 Ford Raptor Truck, an $80,000 boat, a Range Rover, Land Rover, BMW, and Chevrolet Truck.

He also spent thousands of dollars on strippers – including one who had his child – suspected prostitutes, and massive amounts of crack.

Hunter told an Arkansas judge he could not pay child support for the child he fathered with stripper Lunden Roberts, even as he rented a $12,000 per month home in Hollywood and was driving a Porsche Panamera at the time.

Ultimately, he settled the case with Roberts out of court after the judge ordered him to produce his financial records.

The Daily Mail noted:

The bombshell cache of 103,000 text messages, 154,000 emails, more than 2,000 photos, and dozens of videos from Hunter’s laptop and authenticated by experts retained by are packed with revelations conveniently missing from his newly published memoir, Beautiful Things.

The pictures, documents, emails, and texts reveal that despite reporting more than $6 million of income from 2013 to 2016, Hunter’s bacchanalian expenses left him with huge debts to credit card companies and the tax man.

Some of the pictures show Hunter half nude, with only a bathrobe on like the late Hugh Hefner from the Playboy mansion, only instead of a cigar, Hunter is reportedly shown smoking what appears to be a crack pipe.

Other pictures found on his laptop show what appears to be thousands of dollars worth of crack on a Cheech and Chong branded scale and Hunter naked and in bed with likely prostitutes.

Like most drug addicts, Hunter sunk low, threatening to take money from his daughter’s education savings account.

The walls began to close in as his business dealings, described as shady by critics, came under the microscope of conservative media outlets such as Breitbart News. At the same time, the Democrat-allied mainstream outlets ignored Hunter’s overseas deals.

Although his money situation reportedly appeared to substantially improve in 2020, allowing him to pay the District of Columbia a $453,890 tax bill just six days after it was issued, that did not last long.

Hunter was unable to keep his high roller lifestyle and support his family on over a half a million dollar a year salary, and he had to borrow money from one of his companies to keep himself solvent, Eric Schwerin, the president of Hunter’s company Rosemont Seneca, reportedly wrote in an email in January 2017,

“As his finances descended into disarray and his assistants begged him to pay his mounting bills, the President’s son lashed out threatening to cut staff pay, take money from his daughter’s educational savings, and complained about his alimony bills,” the Daily Mail noted, adding:

In October 2018 email from Hunter’s accountant shows that by that year his tax debt had ballooned to an eye-watering $804,000, including $600,000 in personal taxes and $204,000 for one of his businesses that received money from Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

It appears Hunter is not the only Biden with a distorted version of reality.

In the few public comments Joe has made recently amid the fall to rock bottom by his son, his then-president-elect father blamed other people for his son’s downfall.

When announcing the feds were investigating Hunter for failing to pay taxes, Biden said last December he is “deeply proud of his son who has fought through difficult challenges, including personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”

During a softball interview earlier this month, Hunter told CBS News that the laptop “certainly” could be his, but he denied dropping it off at the repair shop.

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Grant TPS to U.S.-Based Guatemalans

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei urged U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris this week to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to illegal Guatemalan nationals already in America, allowing them to reside legally, work lawfully, and even travel.

TPS eligible migrants may travel back to their home country. However, the U.S. federal government designates that a foreign nation be eligible for the status when its nationals cannot return safely.

Giammattei’s request for TPS came Tuesday, during a phone conversation with VP Harris, tapped by U.S. President Joe Biden to lead the White House response to the migrant surge that is overwhelming America’s southern border.

The Guatemalan government issued a Spanish-language statement about the encounter on the same day it took place.

“[Giammattei] reiterated Guatemala’s interest in granting TPS Status to Guatemalan citizens who currently reside in the United States,” the Spanish-language statement read.

The White House issued a readout of the phone conversation without mentioning the Guatemalan president’s TPS request.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lists the following temporary conditions as reasons why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a country for TPS:

Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war); An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic. [As well as] other [unidentified] extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Profound malnutrition is reportedly driving Guatemalans to the U.S. border.

On Thursday, the Washington Post linked the “hunger crisis” in Guatemala to climate change, noting:

Guatemala now has the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. The number of acute cases in children, according to one new Guatemalan government study, doubled between 2019 and 2020.

The crisis was caused in part by failed harvests linked to climate change, a string of natural disasters and a nearly nonexistent official response.

Neither the U.S. government nor its Guatemalan counterpart mentioned the hunger crisis in their statements about the meeting.

Nevertheless, the White House indicated that Harris and Giammattei had agreed to work together on climate change and other issues to deal with the root causes of migration to the United States.

The White House stated:

They agreed to explore innovative opportunities to create jobs and to improve the conditions for all people in Guatemala and the region, including by promoting transparency and combating crime.

Vice President Harris and President Giammattei agreed to collaborate on promoting economic development, leveraging technology, strengthening climate resilience, and creating the conditions to expand opportunity for people in their home countries to address the root causes of migration to the United States.

The Guatemalan statement also noted that the two leaders discussed several issues that affect both countries.

They reviewed issues on the rich bilateral agenda such as cooperation for economic and social development, border security, and migration, among others that allow combating the structural causes that motivate irregular migration.

Harris thanked the Guatemalan leader for his efforts to secure the Central American country’s southern border with Mexico, the White House acknowledged.

Giammattei could pressure the Biden administration for TPS in exchange for continuing their border security efforts.

Salvadorans and Hondurans, along with nationals from another nine countries, already qualify for TPS.

Migrants from the Northern Triangle, a Central American region covering Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, make up most migrants feeding the ongoing surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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GAO Hammers USAID for Failing to Implement Ivanka’s Flagship Program

A damning Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued Wednesday slammed the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for mishandling funding and assigned responsibilities to carry out Ivanka Trump’s signature women’s empowerment initiative launched in the last administration.

USAID so haphazardly managed Ivanka’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, the congressional watchdog was unable to determine whether it actually worked.

The GAO report also highlighted USAID’s failure in implementing the bipartisan 2018 Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empower Act (WEEE Act) that provided support for Ivanka’s initiative.

Despite corporate media reports suggesting otherwise, the GAO primarily focused on USAID problems related to the agency’s efforts to target micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) development funding to women and the poor and better monitor the outcome. USAID was only one of ten agencies receiving funding from Ivanka’s program.

The GAO’s 58-page report only mentions Ivanka’s W-GDP Initiative in one paragraph:

According to USAID documents, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, launched in February 2019, will strengthen the ability of efforts to advance women’s entrepreneurship. Officials at six of the 10 missions we contacted said they have applied or received WGDP funding as of summer 2020. USAID officials said they expect W-GDP–funded MSME activities to increase in the future and to support WEEE Act goals.

Ivanka launched W-GDP weeks after her father signed the WEEE Act.

W-GDP, described as a “whole-of-government approach” by supporters, was designed to deliver targeted financing to women’s efforts in ten different U.S. agencies, including USAID. It also aimed to codify gender analysis.

The main goal of Ivanka’s effort was to support low-income women entrepreneurs worldwide.

Ivanka’s program required USAID to spend at least $265 million on MSME assistance. USAID had to split the money 50/50 between efforts to support women and the very poor, with the expectation of some overlap.

However, the GAO found:

USAID had not developed a process to support compliance with statutory requirements to target MSME resources to activities that reach the very poor and to small and medium-sized enterprise resources to activities that reach enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.

USAID had also failed to implement a process to send the money to the targeted programs successfully, had not kept track of its funding to MSME enterprises, and had not developed any guidelines for what constitutes a business run by women.

The GAO reported:

We identified three key gaps that impair USAID’s ability to develop such a process. First, USAID has not identified the total funding subject to the targeting requirements. Second, although USAID has programs designed to help the very poor, it is unable to determine the amount of funding that reaches this group. Third, although USAID has MSME activities that benefit women, it has not defined enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women and does not collect data by enterprise size.

These gaps leave USAID unable to determine what percentage of its MSME resources is going to the very poor and enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.

The GAO found more problems at USAID that would ultimately impact Ivanka’s efforts, including collecting and reporting incomplete and inconsistent data in its process for monitoring MSME assistance.

Officials from the congressional watchdog concluded:

Without providing guidance to missions on their roles in identifying very poor populations, as well as defining enterprises that are owned, managed, and controlled by women and collecting data that would enable reporting by enterprise size, USAID does not have reasonable assurance that it is meeting its statutory requirements [under WEEE Act].

To rectify its problems, the GAO issued six recommendations for USAID, including establishing “a definition for enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women” and developing new mechanisms to assure that the money is going to the intended programs.

According to Politico, USAID agreed with the recommendations.

The GAO reviewed financial accounts and interviewed USAID staffers located around the globe during its 14-month audit.

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