Probe continues into possible Russian collusion with Trump campaign

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

Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said that "the issue of collusion is still open" regarding the committee's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Burr also stressed that "the issue of collusion is still open", and would not be resolved until the committee's work was done.

"We will share with you when we have exhausted every thread of intelligence, every potential witness that can contribute anything to this", he said.

The dossier accuses the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia, and it asserts that Russian intelligence agencies have information about Trump's participation in sexual escapades in Moscow, something Trump has denied.

Russian-linked Facebook ads with anti-Muslim messages during the 2016 campaign targeted Wisconsin and MI, two swing states that helped elect Donald Trump president, CNN reported Wednesday.

"The Senate Intelligence Committee does not release documents provided by witnesses, companies - whoever, whatever the classification, it's not a practice that we're going to get into", Burr said, echoing similar comments he had made previously.

"I was concerned at first that some of these social media platform companies did not take this threat seriously enough", Warner said "I believe they are taking it seriously now".

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.

"Campaign staff was attempting to implement what they believed to be guidance to be a strong ally on Ukraine, but also leave the door open for better relations with Russia", Burr said.

CNN reported on Wednesday that several Russian-linked Facebook ads, specifically targeted two critical swing states in the election campaign, MI and Wisconsin, and were "highly sophisticated" in focusing on key demographic groups in those states.

The committee has lately been focusing on the role social media companies like Facebook and Twitter played in the dissemination of false or misleading ads and stories planted or otherwise backed by Russian operatives.

Twitter will also appear in front of the committees on Thursday.

Mr Burr said: "The committee can not really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it, who are your sources and subsources?"

The committee is conducting a multi-pronged investigation into Russian election meddling that includes a review of the intelligence community's January assessment on the matter (ICA).

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice into the creation of the intelligence community assessment", Burr said.

As part of their investigations, CNN reports both special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees want to know if Russians received help from Trump associates in where to target the ads.

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

"There will be more forensics done by these companies", Warner said.

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