Senate Intel Leaders Say Ongoing Russia Probe Has Expanded

Senate Intelligence Committee Not Ready to Close Russia Probe

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The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chairman said on Wednesday the issue of whether President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian Federation remains an open question as the panel intensifies its probe into the matter.

Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) led the announcement by saying that their inquiry has "expanded slightly" though there is no definite conclusion in sight yet.

Committee staffers have been working 6 to 7 days a week since January on the investigation and have interviewed more than 100 people related to Russia's meddling in the election.

Twitter's presentation "showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions and again begs many more questions than they offered", Warner said.

Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Vice Chairman Mark Warner also warned about the risk to future US elections posed by Russian Federation, including what is expected to be a closely contested election next month for governor of Warner's home state, Virginia.

Burr said Wednesday that the committee has not seen any evidence that the activities favored either Republicans or Democrats.

One witness the lawmakers say they've been unable to question is Christopher Steele, a former British spy believed to have compiled a dossier of allegations about Trump connections to Russian Federation.

Burr and Warner said they had invited officials from Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify at a November 1 hearing, to get more information about possible Russian interference with the election via those social media platforms.

Facebook disclosed this week that 10 million of its users saw the ads before and after the election, and that most of the ads focused on "divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum" like LGBT issues, immigration, and gun rights.

While both Burr and Vice Chairman Sen.

Burr said his committee will not release the ads but encouraged Facebook to do so.

Warner also said that the Russian intelligence service activities did not end with the US presidential election on November 8 and that similar acts continued ahead of political elections in Montenegro, Belgium, France, and Germany. Burr said he does not intend to release those ads.

Sen. Burr confirmed that the committee trusts findings from the intelligence community on Russian Federation meddling, in contradiction to president Trump who has repeatedly called any report to that effect a hoax.

Burr said he did not have a timeline on when the investigation will conclude, though he said somewhat wistfully that his "aspirational goal" was still to end by the end of year.

Republican committee chairman Richard Burr and ranking Democrat Mark Warner have scheduled a news conference to disclose the conclusions they have reached and plans to prevent Russian meddling in future US elections, according to sources familiar with their plans.

The report also said Russian Federation aimed to help Trump win the election.

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

Even more than that, the senators said the Russian meddling did not end after the 2016 elections and will likely continue into the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.

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