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

05 October 2017

Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said that "the issue of collusion is still open" regarding the committee's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

"We understand more about how our service was abused and we will continue to investigate to learn all we can".

WASHINGTON -The Senate Intelligence Committee is still investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation in the 2016 presidential election, according to the GOP leader of the panel.

He listed three areas where they have exhausted their investigations but did not make any conclusive statements about any of them.

The committee is more than nine months into its investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential race.

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Burr said on Wednesday that the Senate panel had made several attempts to contact Steele and to meet him and "those offers have gone unaccepted".

However, Burr said the committee had come to a conclusion on at least one issue: that it had faith in the conclusions of the intelligence community assessment (ICA) presented by the CIA, FBI and NSA to Barack Obama and Donald Trump in January.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on why it won't release the ads it said were created to stir division in the U.S. before and after the 2016 presidential election.

CNN reported on Wednesday that several Russian-linked Facebook ads, specifically targeted two critical swing states in the election campaign, MI and Wisconsin, and were "highly sophisticated" in focusing on key demographic groups in those states.

A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment.

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Also questioned were senior executives of social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, which displayed numerous Russian-supported advertisements that were meant to exacerbate divisions among voters on hot-button issues before the election.

Last week, Mr Burr said there is no evidence of anything so far connecting Mr Trump's campaign and Russian interference. He did not say which aspects of the dossier the committee may have verified or how much. "If we use exclusively the social media advertising that we've seen, there is no way that you can look at that and say that that was to help the right side of the ideological chart and not the left, or vice versa", North Carolina Sen.

Steele is reported to have spoken to Federal Bureau of Investigation officials about his findings and given them information on his sources.

Attention in recent weeks has focused on the role of social media companies, after Facebook's announcement that Russia-linked firms bought about 3,000 political ads from 2015 to 2017.

Senator Burr added: "I think there is general consensus among members and staff we trust the conclusions".

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Facebook intends to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee at a hearing next month, a source with knowledge of the matter told CNN Wednesday.

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