United States intensifies probe into Russian election interference

Speaking at a congressional hearing on Russian meddling in the presidential election on Thursday, Warner calls the tactic Russian propaganda "on steroids".

"An outside foreign adversary effectively sought to hijack the most critical democratic process, the election of a president, and in that process, chose to favour one candidate over another", Warner said, according to The Independent.

Pledging cooperation, Burr and Warner said they would steer clear of politics in their panel's probe of Russian meddling.

The U.S. lawmakers warned of the danger that Russian Federation could intervene in upcoming elections in Europe and in future U.S. campaigns. "You can have someone engaging with you as an individual and using a bot to amplify their message... or [they] can create more personas on Twitter, for example", Watts said.

Rubio divulged the attempted hack following comments from an national security expert that Russian operatives tried to undermine the campaigns of presidential candidates viewed as hostile to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The lawmakers also warned of the potential for Russian influence on upcoming elections in France and Germany, such as stories being spread to discredit German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "And we must engage in a whole-of-government approach to combat Russian active measures".

But Clinton Watts, a homeland security expert testifying before the committee, said the Russians had successfully exploited U.S. political divisions.

"These people wrote this not for the Obama administration but for the American government, with full knowledge that whatever they were writing would be accessible by the president-elect or the president", Hayden said.

"Through the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, the Russian-influenced system began to push themes and messages seeking to influence the result of the presidential election", Watts said.

A lawyer for Mr Flynn said his client had not yet been interviewed by the Senate committee.

Former National Security Agency director Keith Alexander will be one of those testifying on Thursday.

CNN also quoted Watts as saying he was concerned about President Donald Trump's reaction to revelations that the Russians were trying to damage his campaign opponents.

In a joint press conference earlier this week, both Burr and Warner pledged not to shy away from the truth.

When asked if the president himself is under investigation, Ryan said, "I won't speak for the FBI, but I've never seen any suggestion or any evidence that that's the case".

The Trump presidency has been unable to shake off allegations that members of its team colluded with Russian officials during the election campaign.

Trump may not be ready to give up on his wiretap allegations and his anger at leaks from the intelligence community to the press, but top Republicans on the Hill seem ready to move on to a new strategy when it comes to Russian Federation.

President Putin did so again on Thursday at an Arctic forum, describing them as "nonsense" and "irresponsible".

Mr Burr was a security adviser to the Trump campaign but insists he remains objective. Now the NSC's senior director for intelligence programs, Cohen-Watnick is one of about a dozen people in the White House with access to a full range of classified information, including details of USA covert programs. Nor has former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who agreed to testify before House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes canceled the hearing.

  • Larry Hoffman