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State Department was steered away from coronavirus origins probe, ex-officials say
State Department leaders were warned not to pursue an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, former department officials told Fox News on Thursday.

The concern was that a probe would bring attention to U.S. funding of research at the Wuhan institute from which the virus may have escaped.

Vanity Fair reported that officials calling for transparency from the Chinese government were told not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s “gain of function” research, because it would bring what the outlet described as “unwelcome” attention of U.S. government funding into that research.

The outlet reported that Thomas DiNanno, a former acting assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, wrote in a January memo that staff from two bureaus “warned” leaders within his office not to probe the origins of the virus because it risked opening “a can of worms.”

Multiple former State Department officials told Fox News that the reported memo accurately describes what was happening at State at the time and that there was an effort among some officials at the department to oppose an extensive investigation into a possible lab leak. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON OUR TOP STORY.

In other developments:
– Wuhan lab-leak scenario could be complicated to prove, even after regaining credibility
– House Republicans demand info from White House about funding for Wuhan lab gain-of-function research
– Fauci has not been ‘exactly honest,’ questions on Wuhan lab funding must be answered: Nancy Mace
– Fauci stresses keeping ‘open mind’ on coronavirus origin amid scrutiny over lab-leak theory

Politico newsletters obsess over GOP infighting despite Dems’ control of government
Despite the fact that Democrats control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House, Politico’s highly read newsletters have dedicated more digital ink to former President Trump and GOP infighting on Capitol Hill.

Politico Playbook, which describes itself as “The unofficial guide to official Washington,” led 12 out of its 31 newsletters published in May on various Republican dramas, from the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from House leadership to Trump’s potential legal woes.

Only 11 of the Playbook’s newsletters were focused on the Biden agenda.

The GOP obsession was even more severe in Politico’s “Huddle” newsletter, which offers a “play-by-play preview of the day’s congressional news.” Sixteen out of 20 of the “Huddle” newsletters in May were focused on Republican lawmakers and the efforts to form a Jan. 6 commission. 

Only two were focused on progressive lawmakers and just one mentioned the Biden agenda. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

In other developments:
– WaPo gives Biden ‘Four Pinocchios’ for ‘nonsensical’ claim that Alzheimer’s patients will soon flood hospitals
– Is Joe Biden priming Kamala Harris for 2024 presidency? Ari Fleischer weighs in
– McEnany slams media’s Hunter Biden cover-up: ‘They hid the story and influenced the election’
– Bongino torches ’embarrassing’ mainstream media for covering up Hunter Biden, Wuhan lab stories

Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices side with liberals in computer fraud case
Three Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices sided with three liberal Justices on Thursday to endorse a narrow approach on how to apply a 1986 law against computer hacking.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch — all nominated by former President Trump – found themselves agreeing with justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The six justices overturned the conviction of a police officer, Nathan Van Buren, who was paid to run a license plate search in violation of the police department’s policy and, according to the federal government, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

But Barrett, writing for the majority, said the officer technically did not access information he wasn’t entitled to. Instead, he simply misused his access to information he was authorized to see. Therefore, the court said, the officer did not violate federal law.

“This provision covers those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer – such as files, folders or databases – to which their computer access does not extend,” Barrett wrote in the majority opinion. “It does not cover those who, like Van Buren, have improper motives for obtaining information that is otherwise available to them.”

The vote breakdown pitted the three Trump-appointed justices and the court’s three liberals against the three more senior Republican-appointed justices: Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

In other developments:
– Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court speaks loudly to critics in Thursday ruling. Here’s what justices are saying
– Supreme Court prepares final push to release hot-button rulings, amid retirement talk
– California to pay $2M church legal fees over COVID closures

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TODAY’S MUST-READS:
– Rand Paul slams Fauci book as ‘science fiction’ after it is pulled from store websites
– FLASHBACK: Ted Koppel predicted CNN ratings ‘would be in the toilet without Donald Trump’
– Alaska National Guard rescues 12 from glacier in high-altitude operation: report
– Doctor working in COVID-19 ward severely beaten by mob after patient dies: report
– Kim Kardashian breaks down over Kanye West marital struggles in emotional ‘KUWTK’ clip

THE LATEST FROM FOX BUSINESS:
– William Ackman SPAC nears $40 billion Universal Music deal
– Twitter starts subscription service in Canada, Australia
– GM lifts forecast as chip shortage eases, stock hits record
– CoinBase confirms launch of Dogecoin
– Apple working on iPad Pro with wireless charging, new iPad Mini: report

#TheFlashback: CLICK HERE to find out what happened on “This Day in History.”

SOME PARTING WORDS

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Thursday that the National Institutes of Health were trying to hide work done by the Trump administration to expose China’s culpability regarding the coronavirus.

“To hear (Dr. Anthony) Fauci this morning talk about how the Chinese have an interest in us discovering what happened is just crazy talk,” Pompeo said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” “The Chinese have a deep interest in covering it up and they’ve done it pretty darn effectively. 

“In fact, it was the State Department … who put out documents Jan. 15 that demonstrated some of the central facts that we now know that lead to the overwhelming evidence that this probably leads to this coming from this virology lab.”

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Fox News First was compiled by Fox News’ Jack Durschlag. Thank you for making us your first choice in the morning! Have a great weekend, stay safe and we’ll see you in your inbox first thing Monday.



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