Ratcliffe questioned on virus origins in China

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, President Trump's pick for spy chief, was questioned on Tuesday by senators on his views about the intelligence community's investigation into the origins of the coronavirus in China and a Wuhan lab.

Video Transcript

JOHN RATCLIFFE: That's where it worries me, that the president apparently has been pressing the intelligence community to find what he wants them to find. The question should be where did the virus come from, not don't you think it came from a lab? Do you see the distinction I'm trying to make and why this is so crucial? And it's crucial to the president him or herself, because if they taint the intelligence before it gets to them, they're going to make bad decisions.

And we're protecting the president themselves by guarding against this human nature problem. Every executive wants to hear what they want to hear. Every person that works for that executive wants to tell the boss what they want to hear. Talk to me about this concern. I think this is a critical issue, particularly with a president who is so strong-willed and has indicated in the past a strong desire to press the intelligence community to tell him what he wants to hear.

- Well, senator, I appreciate the question. And I appreciate the fact that we had a chance to visit about this on the phone. And you've made it clear that this is one aspect of politicization of the intelligence community sometimes that happens even unintentionally.


- And I share the sentiment or the concern generally. And I've tried to make it clear in our conversations, or our conversation about that, that I agree with the sentiment. And how I intend to approach this-- I can't comment on things that haven't happened yet. I'm trying to make clear my approach to how I will deal with the issue.

And I think I've been very clear that what anyone wants the intelligence to say won't impact the intelligence they get from me that I deliver. I don't know if--

JOHN RATCLIFFE: I would suggest-- and I'll close with this-- that if you give information to the president that isn't accurate, that isn't unvarnished, that is an act of disloyalty to the president, let alone to the Constitution.