Richard Burr, R-N.C. (left) and Mark Warner, D-Va. "Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, and will continue to both work with the investigations and to share details of our findings with the public as we are able". 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. Mr. Burr's statement that the committee has completed its work on Mr. Comey's memos raises the question of whether Mr. Burr and Mr. Warner consider the president's possible obstruction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into election interference to be within the scope of their work.
But Warner painted a picture of widespread Kremlin-driven activity.
Burr said Russian hackers tested the vulnerabilities of election systems in 21 states.
"The Russian intelligence service is determined, clever, and I recommend every campaign and every election official take this very seriously", Burr said. "There will be more forensics done by these companies", Warner said.
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.
Burr made it clear that his committee could not release the ads that Facebook handed over as part of the investigation but Facebook and the other companies are not constrained by the committee from doing so.
The mere fact that the ads were paid for in Russian rubles cannot serve as compelling evidence of Moscow's involvement, as they could be just as well purchased by Americans living in Russia, for instance.
"The 2016 U.S. election was the first where evidence has been widely reported that foreign actors sought to exploit the internet to influence voter behavior", Schrage wrote. The Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, attended the event and spoke with high-level campaign officials like Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law who's now a top White House adviser. The committee is planning to meet with Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen on October 25, and with social media company representatives on November 1.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also invited representatives from Google and Twitter to testify. Facebook now has turned over more than 3,000 of these ads to Congress.
The Senate Intelligence Committee's own acknowledgement that the ads were not directly promoting either of the candidates, but "sort of aimed at various people" did not give the accusations against Russian Federation any credibility, he pointed out.
Russian ads on Facebook targeted Americans in a number of states including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.
President Trump early Thursday questioned why the Senate Intelligence Committee wasn't investigating "Fake News Networks".
Mark Warner criticized Twitter last week for its response to Russian meddling, calling the company's briefing to congressional investigators "deeply disappointing". "I think they've got some more work to do, and I'm pleased to say I think they're out doing that work right now". "Their response was frankly inadequate on every level". Additionally, an obstruction-of-justice case may be building against Trump after he fired the head of the FBI while the bureau investigated his campaign.