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

Randall Craig
October 5, 2017

The "collusion issue is still open", said Republican Senator Richard Burr, standing alongside the committee's top Democrat, Mark Warner. It needs to absorb all the material it has collected and continue with still more interviews, he said, including some 25 scheduled for this month. "I'm not going to even discuss initial findings, because we haven't any". Russian officials have called the U.S. allegations of election meddling absurd and invented to deflect public attention from actual instances of revealed election fraud and corruption as well as other issues. And he said the role of social media in the Russian campaign is only beginning to be explored.

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

While both Burr and Vice Chairman Sen.

The news comes days after Department of Homeland Security officials told Wisconsin election officials that Russian-linked hackers unsuccessfully targeted the state's election systems in 2016.

He said that the "facts of Russia's involvement in the election" must be made public before the political campaigns begin for the November 2018 US general elections.

Facebook has handed over 3,000 ads that are believed to have been linked to a shadowy Russian entity called the Internet Research Agency, and Facebook staff have been interviewed by committee staff.

Burr and Warner want to know more about what the online companies know about these operations and have convened an open hearing with them on November 1.

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. Google did not make any commitment.

The Senate intelligence committee has said it has confidence in an USA agency finding earlier this year that Russian Federation intervened in the U.S. presidential election in an effort to skew the vote in Donald Trump's favour. Only an interview with the former British intelligence officer who produced it, Christopher Steele, could help move things forward, Burr said, but Steele has not agreed to talk. He did not elaborate, except to say that the committee had not come to any conclusions and that the investigation is ongoing.

Regarding where the committee's investigation stands, Burr said his team continues to pursue whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation, adding: "I'm not going to even discuss initial findings because we haven't any".

Last week, Mr Burr said there is no evidence of anything so far connecting Mr Trump's campaign and Russian interference. "I believe they are recognizing that threat now", Warner said.

"You can't walk away from this and believe Russia's not now active in trying to create chaos in our election process", Burr said.

"The Russian intelligence service is determined, clever and I recommend every campaign and every elected official take this seriously", Burr said.

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