US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States does not have certainty about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, despite claiming over the weekend there was "enormous evidence" the virus originated in a Chinese lab.
Although he conceded he couldn't be certain, Pompeo continued to push his lab claim, countering the leading theory among intelligence experts and international analysts that the virus came into human contact at a wet market.
Assessments circulated among US intelligence-sharing allies have posited that it is "highly unlikely" the virus originated in a lab. The US intelligence community has said it is looking into both possibilities.
In an interview on Fox Business later Wednesday evening, Pompeo doubled down on his claim that he had "seen evidence that this likely came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology," but added that he'd be "happy to see evidence that disproves that."
The top US diplomat has maintained an aggressive line of attack on China's handling of the virus as the Trump administration looks to deflect blame for its response to the disease that has now killed more than 73,000 Americans and stalled the economy in the crucial months before the presidential election.
Pompeo also insisted there was no contradiction between his position and comments by other senior US officials who have cast doubt on his theory.
"We don't have certainty," Pompeo said at a news conference at the State Department Wednesday. "And there is significant evidence that this came from the laboratory. Those statements can both be true. I've made them both. Administration officials have made them. They're all true," he said.