US Senate Intelligence Panel Leaders to Release Interim Report on Russia Probe

Nichole Vega
October 5, 2017

Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner called on Facebook to publicly release the ads, which have already been privately handed over to committee staffers investigating Russia's meddling in U.S. elections, during a press conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

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.

But Warner, and Committee Chairman Republican Richard Burr gave an interim report today, and Warner said he sees ample evidence of Russian interference.

Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort was interviewed, as was senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who also is Trump's son-in-law. On Tuesday, CNN reported that key battleground states, MI and Wisconsin, which were essential to Trump's victory, were specifically targeted by Russian-linked ads.

We're learning more about the investigation into Russia's 2016 presidential election meddling, and what role MI may play in it.

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

The "general consensus" of the Senate Intelligence Committee thus far is that the intelligence community was correct in assessing that Russian Federation sought to interfere in the 2016 election, the committee chairman said Wednesday.

"Let us go through that process", Burr said.

Regarding the memos that James Comey, the former FBI director, wrote about Trump's attempts to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Burr said "the committee is satisfied that this issue has reached a logical end" as it related to the committee's Russian Federation investigation.

That report said Russian Federation waged a cyber and disinformation campaign to discredit Hillary Clinton, help Donald Trump's campaign, and undermine faith in the democratic process. "[It's] not a practice that we're going to get into".

Warner said the panel continues to focus also on the Kremlin's manipulation of social media platforms.

"It seems that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US election was to create chaos at every level", he said.

"I was concerned at first that some of these companies did not take this threat seriously enough", Warner said. 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.

Pointing to what has so far been revealed about Russia' social media activity, Burr added that, "there's no way that you can look at that and say that was to help the right side of the ideological chart, and not the left or vise versa".

Russia Today, the Kremlin-backed television network, spent $274,000 on more than 1,800 tweets on Twitter's network that "definitely or potentially targeted the US market" during the 2016 presidential campaign, Twitter officials have also said.

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