Key senators haven't drawn conclusion about whether Trump campaign, Russia cooperated

Key Points
  • The top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee warn that Russia is still trying to influence American elections.
  • The panel, led by Richard Burr and Mark Warner, has not determined whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.
Sen. Richard Burr: Committee continues to look at all evidence involving collusion

The top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee have not drawn any conclusions yet on whether the Trump campaign and Russia cooperated in the 2016 election.

"The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion," the panel's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told reporters on Wednesday.

"The issue of collusion is still open," he later added.

The comments came as Burr and Vice Chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., updated reporters on the probe into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Burr said the panel and its staff have reached a "general consensus" that they trust the intelligence community's assessment that Moscow directed an influence campaign in the U.S. election.

.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) (2nd R) and vice-chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) (2nd L) attend a hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2017.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters

Burr said the Senate investigation started with three goals: evaluating the intelligence community assessment, determining if campaigns colluded and looking into ongoing Russian efforts to influence elections. The scope of the probe has "expanded slightly" since then, he added.

"We hope we will very soon reach some definite conclusion," Burr said, without setting a target deadline.

They also warned that Russia will keep trying to influence American elections.

Burr said Russian intelligence services are "determined" and "clever," warning that campaigns and election officials should take the threat "very seriously."

"We need to be on guard," Warner added.

Warner said the investigators want to end the probe "as quickly as possible" but still "follow the facts."

Warner said the senators remain focused on the role of social media in the election. This week, Facebook turned over more than 3,000 Russian-linked election ads to the committee.

Divisive Facebook ads believe to be linked to Russia targeted parts of the United States, including traditional battleground states, NBC News reported Wednesday.

The committee has invited representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify on Nov. 1, Burr said. He expects them to attend the hearing.