Issue of Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation 'still open'

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Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA) gave a press conference updating the public about the investigation surrounding Russian election interference. "I would tell you the fact that we're sitting here 9 months later investigating it, they've been pretty darn successful".

Burr said that the "subject matter of the ads seemed to be to create chaos in every group they could possibly find in America", noting that the ads show that the Russians "were indiscriminate" in who they were helping.

Facebook won't publicly release the roughly 3,000 ads linked to Russian Federation on its platform despite calls to do so by the US Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, a person close to the company told Business Insider. The first is for Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who had been scheduled for a private staff interview last month, but the committee postponed the appearance and invited him to a public session instead after Cohen provided a statement to the media denying any collusion with Russian officials.

Burr said Wednesday that the panel is close to determining the assessment is accurate.

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"The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion", Burr told reporters during a press conference regarding the status of the Russian Federation investigation Wednesday afternoon.

"I think the pattern that they used in America has been used in other nations around the world", Warner said, alluding to Russian efforts to sway elections in France, Germany and other nations. Twitter last week said that it shut down more than 200 accounts linked to Russian sources that were also involved in placing ads on Facebook.

The source pointed to the rationale Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch gave last month for not publicly releasing the ads, saying it meant to protect user information.

The committee appeared to leave any further probing of the Comey memos to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading an independent investigation on behalf of the Justice Department.

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Warner focused on the Russian use of social media, through paid advertising and fake accounts to drive fake stories and "sow chaos and division in our country".

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.

The company made the announcement after turning over 3,000 ads to congressional investigators examining Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Burr said that the committee would not make the Facebook ads public.

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"Reviewing ads means assessing not just the content of an ad, but the context in which it was bought and the intended audience - so we're changing our ads review system to pay more attention to these signals", the company said.

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