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White House orders intelligence probe into whether China, WHO hid coronavirus info: report

The White House has ordered intelligence officials to look into whether the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese government withheld information about the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, according to a report by NBC News.

The directive was sent to the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA, according to NBC. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE appeared to reference the directive on Monday during a White House briefing.

"We're doing very serious investigations," Trump said. "We are not happy with that whole situation, because we believe it could have been stopped at the source, it could have been stopped quickly, and it wouldn't have spread all over the world."

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House Republicans on Monday called for an investigation into the WHO. A number of lawmakers, primarily Republicans, have grown critical of the international health organization since the number infected in the U.S. surpassed China earlier this month and has more than doubled since then.

The calls for an investigation into the WHO and China come after reports that the administration ignored earlier domestic intelligence warnings about the pandemic and its economic consequences. 

China is also emerging as a major theme in the November presidential election.

The Trump campaign last week launched an attack ad against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Five things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs MORE, the presumptive Democratic nominee, framing him as weak on China.

"The president is now running against China as much as anyone," a source told NBC.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

The CIA declined to comment to NBC on the report. An official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told NBC "We are not aware of any such tasking from the White House."