Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted MI and Wisconsin

Posted October 05, 2017

Google officials said in a statement Friday that they are looking for evidence of Russian meddling within their system, but have not announced any findings. Later this month, longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is slated to testify in open session before the Senate committee.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) (L) and committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) hold a news conference on the status of the committee's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election at the Capitol on October 4, 2017 in Washington.

Saying that collusion between Russian Federation and Trump campaign was a "concern we continue to pursue", both senators confirmed they were expanding that area of their probe while adding that Russian Federation used paid advertisements "and created false social media accounts to drive divisions".

The committee's consensus view is not its final finding, Burr said, and the question will remaining open until the committee's investigation is complete, which could take many more months.

But Burr added, "We have been incredibly enlightened in our ability to rebuild backwards the Steele dossier up to a certain date". But he added that Russian intelligence could threaten the next round of congressional elections next year.

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"The 2016 USA election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behavior", Schrage wrote.

Burr added that investigators have "exhausted" every witness for pertinent information on the so-called "Comey memos", or notes that Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey kept to detail his interactions with the president.

"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?" Richard Burr (R-NC) in a news conference, as Burr repeatedly refused to put an end date on the investigation.

Burr and the committee's ranking Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, stressed that the Russian interference campaign has continued after the election.

"The overall theme of the Russian involvement in the USA elections was to create chaos at every level", he said.

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The lawmakers said they would not release social media ads paid for by Russian agents to influence USA voters, but they hoped Facebook and Twitter would. The source pointed to the rationale Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch gave last month for not publicly releasing the ads, saying it meant to protect user information. "What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?"

After 100 thousand documents and 250 hours of testimony, the Committee is not done yet. "I think they've got some more work to do and I'm pleased to say I think they're out doing that work now".

Aside from oversight of the intelligence assessment, the probe includes an ongoing look into any collusion by either campaign with the Kremlin during the 2016 election, as well as ongoing Russian active measures.

But Warner said that the Russians used social media firms by creating false accounts that "would drive interest toward stories and groups to sow chaos and division in our country".

The Senate intelligence committee is still into whether Russian Federation colluded with Trump campaign advisers to influence the 2016 election, the panel's chairman has said.

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