Russia investigation: Who is Clint Watts

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Mark Warner, the top Democrat and vice chairman of the committee, said in his opening remarks.

The Senate hearing is devoted to Russia's alleged interference into the 2016 US Presidential election.

Rubio said he would not comment on a remark earlier in the hearing by Clinton Watts, a cybersecurity expert, that Rubio may have been victimized by Russian activity during his unsuccessful campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination against President Donald Trump.

The different approaches being taken by the two committees is drawing notice on both sides of the Capitol.

Pledging cooperation, Burr and Warner said they would steer clear of politics in their panel's probe of Russian meddling. One question he said he wants the committee's investigation to answer is whether Russian Federation would have the ability to do that without the assistance of someone with a deep knowledge of American politics. "The election is rigged" is a primary campaign put out by Russian propaganda up to the election", Watts said.

Marco Rubio is urging President Donald Trump to bring up political prisoners and human rights in communist China when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach next week.

But it's clear that the Russian Federation story is continuing to grow - and that the longer the House and Senate investigations go on, the more we'll learn about it.

"The Russians employed thousands of paid Internet trolls and botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume focusing this material onto Twitter and Facebook feeds and flooding social media with misinformation", Warner said.

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The panel of experts recommended several ways to counter Russian propaganda and online smear campaigns, including changing the way cybersecurity experts are hired to bring more skilled people into the government, and getting the Department of State and Homeland Security to play a more active role in discrediting fake news and other false rumors and reports. He told the senators that Russian Federation continues to interfere in American electoral politics, just as it does routinely in Europe.

"The quicker they're refuted, the faster they die on social media", Watts said.

Their hearings come after controversy with the House investigation.

"'The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted "no" on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018, '" Sanford said Mulvaney told him.

"There have been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation", he said. "[Trump] denies the intel from the United States about Russian Federation".

Burr has said that so far, the Senate committee has requested 20 individuals to be interviewed.

Burr said his committee is dedicating seven staff members to the Russian Federation investigation and is "within weeks" of completing a review of "thousands of pages" of documents provided by the intelligence community. The president said he made the decision because Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.

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