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GOP rep calls for US to bring international case against China over coronavirus

GOP rep calls for US to bring international case against China over coronavirus
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is pushing for the State Department and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJustice Dept. blasts Mexico's decision to close probe of former defense minister Acting attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report MORE to launch an international case against China for the damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the country’s initial efforts to conceal the outbreak of the deadly virus in Wuhan and spread misinformation about its origin prevented other countries from taking steps that could have contained its spread, arguing that Beijing's actions warrant legal repercussions. 

“If China’s leaders hadn’t become embarrassed by the outbreak and tried to cover up its spread, the world may have had a better chance to prepare for this or even contain it in Wuhan or China. Instead, we have a pandemic,” he said in a statement. 

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“China shoulders most of that blame," he continued. "Rather than succumb to the propaganda and spin of Chinese officials, the world must hold them accountable for mishandling this outbreak. If the United Nations cannot even do that, it has completely lost its purpose.” 

The Indiana Republican is currently circulating a letter among his colleagues in an effort to gain support for his call to bring the matter before the United Nations International Court of Justice. The letter is slated to be sent to Barr and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden should expand contact between US and Taiwanese officials On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE in the coming weeks.

Banks, a China hawk, introduced a resolution last month condemning the Chinese government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The resolution garnered 52 co-sponsors in the House. 

Rep. Lance GoodenLance GoodenREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results 27 GOP reps ask for special counsel to investigate election irregularities MORE (R-Texas) also recently introduced legislation aimed at allowing the Justice Department to investigate the origins of the virus and to file claims against China.