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'Issue of collusion' with Russian Federation still open, Senate intel chief says

05 October 2017, 12:54 | Yvette Williams

Would Zuckerberg wear a suit in court?Image Paul Marotta Getty Images

Would Zuckerberg wear a suit in court

Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) gave a press conference updating the public about the investigation surrounding Russian election interference.

The President and senior White House officials have long insisted they did not collude with Russian Federation.

"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.

Although the committee can't determine collusion at this point, they agree on Russia's attempts to influence the election.

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

Warner said the aim was to "sow chaos and drive division in our country". Burr said that based on the committee's findings, there is evidence that Russian Federation wanted to "create chaos at every level" during this past year's election.

Burr caveated that they are not closing the door on investigating the memos entirely, saying that the panel has explored every detail and interviewed every witness available to them at this time. He warned that the media has only gotten "glimpses" into their investigation.

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Burr later said that they will not be releasing Facebook ads that were paid for by Russian entities. Mark Warner, the intelligence committee's vice chairman - held the press conference Wednesday to discuss the progress the committee has made in its Russian Federation meddling investigation. "We continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses", Burr said.

Trump has repeatedly referred to the Russian campaign to interfere in the presidential election as a "hoax" invented by Democrats.

But he added that it "had hit a wall" in its efforts to talk to Christopher Steele, the former United Kingdom intelligence officer whose reports on allegations of active collusion involving Trump himself have become part of the continuing investigations being conducted by the Senate, House of Representatives, and the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

The politicians said though they have reached no conclusion about whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin, their investigation has left no doubt about a multi-pronged Russian effort to meddle in American politics. Google and Twitter have also been invited to testify.

Like other companies that sell advertising space, Facebook publishes policies for what it allows, prohibiting ads that are violent, discriminate based on race or promote the sale of illegal drugs.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation say Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted MI and Wisconsin.

Mark Warner criticized Twitter last week for its response to Russian meddling, calling the company's briefing to congressional investigators "deeply disappointing". The panel also talked to everyone involved with the changing of the Republican platform on Ukraine, and Burr said the staff believed in what they were implementing. He did not say which aspects of the dossier the committee may have verified or how much.



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