Attorneys general for 18 states have signed a letter asking Congress to open hearings into China's role in the spread of the coronavirus, accusing the country of "layers of deceit" in covering up the severity of the crisis while it "wreaked havoc" in the United States.
The letter, which is dated May 9, is signed only by Republicans, but seeks members of both parties and both houses of Congress to take action, Fox News reports.
The effort was headed up by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. Wilson said to get to the bottom of the truth "we can't rely solely on media to do the investigation. We have got to have truly, we have got to have congressional oversight. We have got to go deep into an investigation using the reaches of the federal government."
"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," the letter reads.
The letter says the Chinese government was aware of how bad the virus was from the beginning, but hid the fact while stockpiling personal protective equipment. "Tens of thousands" of deaths and economic pain have since hit the United States.
Though all the AGs signing the letter are Republicans, Wilson said the effort is intended to be bipartisan.
"We wanted to get this letter out as quickly as possible," he said. "Obviously it was circulated as quickly as possible within our caucus, but it is not exclusive of Democrats. I know that many Democratic AGs have questions much like we do. We would certainly ask our Democratic colleagues to join us and I'm sure that many of them have the same questions that we do ... I don't want the letter to be viewed as a partisan letter because in the letter we're not out there attacking anybody on a partisan level. We're Americans, and we want to know what China did that led to this pandemic."
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