Head of Senate Russia probe: "The issue of collusion is still open"

05 October, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Exclusive: Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin

Burr and committee vice chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, gave a briefing about the status of the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

"I think at the end of the day it's important that the public see these ads", said Warner, the intelligence committee's vice chairman.

"We understand more about how our service was abused and we will continue to investigate to learn all we can".

Three sources with knowledge of Mueller's probe said his investigators have assumed control of multiple inquiries into allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russian Federation interfered in the election to benefit Trump, a Republican.

A US Senate committee has said there is consensus that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election, but the issue of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign team and Moscow is "still open". The first is for Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who had been scheduled for a private staff interview last month, but the committee postponed the appearance and invited him to a public session instead after Cohen provided a statement to the media denying any collusion with Russian officials.

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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. "I believe they are recognizing that threat now", Warner said.

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 U.S. before and after the 2016 presidential election.

He said at least 25 more interviews are scheduled and more work is needed to determine whether the Trump campaign worked with Russian Federation to disrupt the election. Some of the Russian-bought Facebook ads specifically targeted swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida, as well as other states whose Electoral College votes were not truly contested during the election, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

More recently investigators for the committee and the House Intelligence Committee have sharpened their attention on Russia's use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are now trying to determine whether Trump associates helped the Russians in targeting the ads.

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"The committee can not really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it, who are your sources and sub-sources", Burr said.

Burr and Warner may divulge more information about social media's role in the election.

"There is consensus among members and staff that we trust the conclusions of the ICA", Burr said.

Warner said that representatives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been invited to testify at a November 1 public hearing before the committee.

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Several lawmakers - including Virginia Sen. "We care deeply about the integrity of elections around the world", Kaplan wrote . The company already has given similar material to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian meddling.

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