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Although House Democrats are planning legislation to establish a nonpartisan commission intended to study the federal response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in the meantime House committees have begun their own investigations into the government’s response to the crisis.
That includes the House Intelligence Committee, probing the early warnings which Donald Trump and his administration were receiving about the impending pandemic, and how they went unheeded, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif).
There have been more than 1.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The virus has killed more than 119,000.
In the United States, there have been 591,064 reported cases including 24,600 deaths, according to the most recent figures.
News reports recently have indicated that Trump and his team had warnings for months which they ignored before taking action to protect the American people.
“The timing of the legislation, that commission wouldn’t get started until early next year. It is designed to be an apolitical process, not caught up in [the] November [election]. So those commissioners would be appointed at first of the year,” Schiff told viewers of Joy Reid’s MSNBC program. “But, Joy, it’s important to point out that is not the substitute for doing real time oversight on the intelligence issues.
“We are right now going through our intelligence holdings, what did the intelligence community make us aware of at the end of last year or earlier this year,” added Schiff, who headed up the impeachment effort against Trump last year. “Other committees are doing like analyses, and it’s 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 [the World Health Organization] or the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] or its own National Security Council and he ignored those warnings.
“But diving deeply into what does the intelligence community know, what resources we would bring there and what do we need to do prospectively to better protect the country in the future,” he added. “And that last piece: ‘How do we protect the country in the future?’ is really the mission of that independent commission that we based on — we used the model the 9/11 commission.”
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