Senate Intel Heads Say Trump-Russia Collusion Still an Open Question

05 October, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Alicia Barber
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A U.S. Senate committee says there is a consensus that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election but is still investigating whether there was any collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign team.

Warner and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, held a press conference to a packed room of journalists on Capitol Hill.

Burr and Warner warned that Russian sources are continuing to try to influence elections, not just in the US but in other countries like France where recent national votes have been held. While the senators confirmed Russian interference, they stopped short of saying Moscow acted specifically to ensure Trump would win the White House. "We have not come to any determination on collusion", Burr added.

While both Burr and Vice Chairman Sen.

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.

Burr said Senate investigators have interviewed 100 people, with another 25 interviews scheduled. "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".

News of those 3,000 ads came a month after Facebook revealed it had discovered 450 accounts and about $100,000 in ad spending linked to Russian Federation on divisive issues during the USA presidential campaign.

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

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Warner said that the committee's investigation has revealed "strains and threads that we need to continue to pursue" and added that Russian interference "did not end on election day".

Sen. Warner expressed disappointment that it took the Department of Homeland Security 11 months to release the names of the 21 states targeted by Russian Federation during the election, stressing that "we can do better than that".

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 USA general elections.

Burr said his committee had also "hit a wall" on the credibility of the "Steele dossier" - a private intelligence report written by former British spy Christopher Steele, who Burr said has refused to meet with the committee.

The simple quantity of investigation that still must be done - at this hearing and through the committee's other efforts - suggests that the Senate committee's work may carry on for several more months.

The lawmakers said that though they have reached no conclusion about whether the campaign colluded with the Kremlin - the question also at the heart of a separate criminal investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller - their investigation has left no doubt about a multi-pronged Russian effort to meddle in American politics.

The FBI has also reportedly used some materials from the dossier in its successful request for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct surveillance on Trump personal friend and associate Carter Page.

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