Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia have been profoundly investigating the 2016 presidential elections. This comes after serious allegations aiming at Russia and its President Vladimir V. Putin on directing an online campaign that would decrease Hilary Clinton’s popularity and help the actual US President Donald Trump. According to both Senators, American spy agencies already reached some conclusions, although they still have work to do.
Additionally, the leaders of the US Senate Intelligence Committee warned political candidates on Wednesday, demanding them to expect anything from Russian operatives and to stay alert in front of any suspicious activity that would create chaos in the in elections of next month and next year.
“The Russian intelligence service is determined — clever — and I recommend that every campaign and every election official take this very seriously,” said Republican Sen. Burr at the conference.
US President has entirely denied these accusations since they were first made early this year. At the campaign rally in Alabama, he called them again as “one of the great hoaxes.” However, the Senators claim that Russia indeed intervened in 2016 US elections after eight months of investigating, hundreds of hours interviewing more than 100 people, and nearly 100,000 pages of documents reviewed.
The allegations are serious. Thus, Facebook and Twitter agreed and confirmed they would testify on Wednesday at the upcoming Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. In fact, both companies already informed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about their findings on Russia interfering in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Google was also invited to testify, but it hasn’t confirmed if it’s going to send a representative to testify at the Nov. 1 hearing.
How could Russian Influence Campaign help Trump?
The first thing that US Senators claimed could have helped Trump’s campaign by lowing his opponent’s ranking was the hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the Hillary Clinton campaign director.
Additionally, according to the Senators, Russia “actively tried” to destabilize the election systems of 21 states by messing on the voter registration. It also helped to undermine the confidence of the Americans by making them think the votes were not accurately counted In the same line, Russia could use Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media, to buy ads and create fake accounts to “sow chaos or drive division in our country.” According to Warner, he sometimes fears that “if you add up all this, there was a decent rate of return.”
However, the Senators can “certifiably say” that Russia did not intervene once the people voted. They said that no one could change any votes that were cast.
Facebook and Twitter invited to the US Senate hearing
Twitter and Facebook are entirely compromised with helping the Senators.
A Twitter spokesperson emailed a statement saying that the company is “cooperating with these investigations in Russian interference in the 2016 election.” According to the email, Twitter deeply respects the “integrity of the election process,” and it will inform and share the details of its investigation with the public as they are “able.” – The Hill reported.
On last month, Facebook revealed that Russian groups spent 100,000 on election ads. This Monday, the company turned over 3, 000 advertisements purchased between 2015 and 2016 by the Internet Research Agency – a group tied to the Putin Administration.
Sen. Warner called Twitter’s effort “deeply disappointing.”
Trump, on his side, has always denied all accusations against him. He insists on calling the Russia campaign “hoaxes.” On September 22, the US President denied Russia helped him on 2016, and asked on Twitter about “the biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary.”
“Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump” tweeted Trump on his account. He also pointed The New York Times and The Washington Post of being “Fake News,” and pointed them of being colluding against him and his Administration.
Source: The Washington Post