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Senate Intelligence Panel Chief Burr: Russia-Trump Campaign Collusion Issue Still Open

Senate Intelligence Panel Chief Burr: Russia-Trump Campaign Collusion Issue Still Open
Senate ntelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., left, and Vice Chair Mark Warner, D-Va. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 01:42 PM

The issue of possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia before the election is still an open question, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman said in providing an update of a probe that he said has expanded.

"We have not come to any determination on any collusion or Russia’s preferences" in the outcome of the election, Chairman Richard Burr told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. The theme, he added, was "to create chaos at every level."

The inquiry has expanded "slightly" since January, the chairman said. "We have more work to do."

Burr of North Carolina said the committee is also looking at any possible collusion involving Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The Senate Intelligence panel has called executives from Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google to testify at a Nov. 1 public hearing about Russia’s use of social media to influence the U.S. election.

The committee’s top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, said there is a “large consensus that they hacked into political files, released those files in an effort to influence the election” and that Russia used social media platforms "to drive chaos and division in our country,"

Social-media companies didn’t initially take the threat of Russian interference seriously enough, but "they are recognizing that threat now," Warner said.

Social-media companies are facing growing outrage over their inability to prevent foreign tampering in the U.S. democratic process. Lawmakers are looking at about 3,000 Russia-linked election-related advertisements bought on Facebook, which the social network handed over on Monday. Twitter also has said it shared a roundup of advertisements by RT, a TV network funded by the Russian government that was formerly known as Russia Today.

Burr said the committee won’t release the ads Facebook has provided to it, under its policy of not making public the documents it receives, but he said he had no objections if the companies decided to release them. Warner said that it’s "important that the public sees these ads."

Other congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are also looking into Russian election-meddling and possible collusion between the Russia’s government and Trump’s campaign.

Among those under scrutiny are former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who arranged a meeting on June 9, 2016, with Russians who were promising damaging material on Clinton.

Manafort has given a staff interview to the Senate Intelligence panel behind closed doors.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was interviewed privately by the Senate and House Intelligence committees on July 24 and 25.

Burr said the committee will have a public hearing on Oct. 25 with Michael Cohen, a longtime Trump lawyer.

Burr and Warner didn’t estimate when the committee will announce its conclusions.

"Let me assure you, we are going to get the best view of what happened that anybody could possibly get," Burr said.

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The issue of possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia before the election is still an open question, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman said in providing an update of a probe that he said has expanded.
burrn, warren, trump, russia
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2017-42-04
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 01:42 PM
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