Senate Intel Committee on Russia: "Issue of collusion is still open"

05 October, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Marjorie Miles
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Burr said the Russians had been "pretty darn successful" in fomenting chaos in the USA political system.

Burr and the committee's vice chairman, Sen.

Burr and Warner warned that Russian sources are continuing to try to influence elections, not just in the USA but in other countries like France where recent national votes have been held.

White House officials could not be reached for comment, but have long said there was no collusion with Russian Federation.

"The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion", Burr told reporters during a press conference regarding the status of the Russian Federation investigation Wednesday afternoon.

Burr and the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Virginia Sen. After initially saying their networks played only minor roles in Russia's disinformation campaigns, both companies are under pressure from the committees to provide more information about Russian-backed messages and ads that sought to pit Americans against each other before, during and after the election.

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Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on why it won't release the ads it said were created to stir division in the USA before and after the 2016 presidential election. "I was concerned at first that some social media platforms did not take this thread seriously enough", Burr said.

He said the panel has conducted more than 100 interviews lasting more than 250 hours in its nine-month-old investigation, and "we now have booked for the balance of this month 25 additional interviews".

The report also said Russian Federation aimed to help Trump win the election.

Russian Federation interfered during the 2016 election and is likely to do so again in 2018 midterm elections, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Twitter's presentation "showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions and again begs many more questions than they offered", Warner said.

CNN reported in early January that Trump was briefed on the dossier, which includes allegations about Trump's associates, finances and personal life, and Trump has gone on to dismiss its contents entirely as "phony".

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The declassified version of the intelligence community's report said "Russia's goals" in meddling in the election "were to undermine public faith in the USA democratic process, denigrate" Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and "harm her electability and potential presidency".

Burr said he did not have a timeline on when the investigation will conclude, though he said somewhat wistfully that his "aspirational goal" was still to end by the end of year.

He said that the "facts of Russia's involvement in the election" must be made public before the political campaigns begin for the November 2018 USA general elections.

Alongside several other congressional committees, it is also looking into any connections between Russian meddling and Mr Trump's campaign.

But content of the 3,000 Facebook adverts linked to Russian Federation will not be publicly released.

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