The Latest: Russia expert says campaigns targeted speaker


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the Senate intelligence committee’s hearing on Russian interference in last year’s presidential election (all times local):

10:50 a.m.

Russia experts are telling the Senate intelligence committee that President Vladimir Putin hasn’t stopped his alleged disinformation campaign in America.

Clint Watts is with the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National Security. Watts testified Thursday that just this past week, social media campaigns were targeting House Speaker Paul Ryan.

He didn’t offer details, but Watts said the campaigns are evidence that Russia is continuing to seek further unrest among U.S. democratic institutions, leaders and their constituents.

There was no immediate comment from Ryan’s office.


10:40 a.m.

Sen. Mark Warner is alleging that Russia continually sought to undermine American trust in the U.S. media.

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

The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee claims Russian propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik produced and peddled disinformation to U.S. audiences in hopes of damaging Hillary Clinton. Warner says he’s not trying to relitigate the outcome of the election, but wants to warn Americans about Russian activities.

He says he wants President Donald Trump to uncover Russian activities during the election, but he chastised Trump for what he calls “wild and uncorroborated accusations” that his campaign was wiretapped.


10:15 a.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee is butting heads with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In opening remarks at a congressional hearing on Thursday, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said definitively that Putin ordered a carefully constructed campaign to undermine last year’s presidential election.

In Moscow, Putin on Thursday dismissed what he called “endless and groundless” accusations of Russian meddling in the election. Putin describes the allegations as part of the U.S. domestic political struggle.

Putin also said he’s ready to meet with President Donald Trump at an upcoming Arctic summit.


7:35 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is maintaining support for embattled House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (NOO’-nehs).

In an interview on CBS’ “This Morning,” Ryan says Nunes told him a “whistleblower-type person” gave him some new information on Russian meddling in the election. Ryan says he hasn’t seen the new documents, but, “We’re waiting for it to be provided to Congress.”

Nunes met with a secret source on White House grounds last week to review classified material, which he says indicates that Trump associates’ communications were captured in “incidental” surveillance of foreigners. Democrats want Nunes to recuse himself from his Russia probe in the House.

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.”

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