Kansas AG to Congress: Investigate China's role in COVID-19 pandemic

In this Monday, June 24, 2019 photo, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt responds to...
In this Monday, June 24, 2019 photo, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt responds to questions during an Associated Press interview in Topeka, Kan. Schmidt argues that a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling protecting abortion rights could open up new avenues for litigation as defense attorneys are citing it in attacking capital punishment. (AP Photo/John Hanna)(KWCH)
Published: May. 11, 2020 at 3:47 PM CDT
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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt shares a message urging Congress to investigate the communist Chinese government's role in the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose, Schmidt says, is to gain clearer understanding into how the pandemic began.

The Kansas AG on Friday joined 17 other state attorneys general in sending a letter to U.S. House and Senate leadership, asking for the Congressional investigation.

“Recent reports suggest that the communist Chinese government willfully and knowingly concealed information about the severity of the virus while simultaneously stockpiling personal protective equipment,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter. “Congressional hearings are critical to our nation’s understanding of the origins of COVID-19 and efforts by the communist Chinese government to deceive the international community.”

Schmidt points out current U.S. death toll from COVID-19, as of Monday, has exceeded 80,000. The economic impact includes skyrocketed unemployment from about 3.5 percent in February to 14.7 percent, just three months later.

The Kansas AG says many businesses are unable to recover from the pandemic's economic toll and in Kansas, the state's projected budget shortfall has ballooned to more than $1 billion over the next two years.

“The spread of COVID-19 and actions taken in response are likely to spur widespread litigation,” Schmidt says. “My view is that Congress – not courts throughout the country – needs to take the lead in developing the basic factual record of what the Chinese government knew, when they knew it, and what they did with that information.”