Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) swung through his home district on Thursday and called for an investigation into the Reedley biologics lab that contained various infectious agents and bioengineered mice.
McCarthy held a press conference at his Clovis office and also discussed the criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump.
Driving the news: Last week’s revelation that a secret biologics lab was operating in a Reedley warehouse made national headlines and sprung public concern that China is infiltrating the Central Valley.
- The lab was operated by Prestige Biotech, a business that is owned by two people who live in China, according to the Fresno County Department of Public Health.
- While the actual operations of the lab remain murky, court documents revealed that nearly 1,000 mice were bioengineered to carry COVID-19.
- McCarthy called the news disturbing and expressed his concern about China’s influence in the United States, noting that he founded the bipartisan House Select Committee on China to investigate such concerns.
- “They were doing research that wasn’t allowed,” McCarthy said. “My concern is to get to the bottom of what happened here, but also look at where is this happening in other parts of the country as well.”
- McCarthy pointed to Chinese interference on college campuses, technology stealing and spying such as with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D–Dublin) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
- “But to have a lab in this neighborhood, we all know where COVID came from, and the damage that could be done with the modification of mice in there,” McCarthy said. “Why were they doing that? The code specs of how they were studying these different diseases that could be transmitted out into the area were very concerning, but going beyond the scope that they’re allowed to.”
- McCarthy said he will follow up with the FBI to get to the bottom of what happened in Reedley and to see if similar labs are set up elsewhere across the country.
Trump’s indictment: Trump pleaded not guilty in a Washington D.C. court on Thursday to charges surrounding the 2020 election and the events at the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021.
- With the revelations surrounding President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, McCarthy said the justice system is beginning to “feel like it’s a two-justice system.”
- “From what I see now they seem totally political,” McCarthy said of the charges against Trump. “What’s interesting to me, why didn’t [Merrick] Garland – it seemed like he was going to do nothing about this for the first two years. It seems as though every time Trump goes higher in the poll he gets a new indictment. It seems to me after you learn of the real dealings behind the Bidens, the next day he gets indicted. Any time there is new information the federal government just seems to have a two-tier system.”
- When pushed about Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen, McCarthy pushed back that people are entitled to raise a question in America under the FIrst Amendment.
- “You shouldn’t be prosecuted for your thoughts,” McCarthy said. “And the difference here is when Hillary Clinton said it, nothing happened to her. When they said it in Georgia’s election, nothing happened to them either. You know what? When the DNC said it, nothing happened to them either. So stop using government to go after people who politically disagree with you. That is wrong and that should stop now.”
The fundraising trail: Following the press conference at his Clovis office, McCarthy attended a fundraiser at Fresno’s Harris Construction, hosted by Richard Spencer. McCarthy spoke to around 80 donors for about an hour, addressing the debt ceiling deal that he brokered, the Reedley biologics lab, China’s interference in America and the fentanyl crisis, among other issues.