Top Democrats on Tuesday released a letter to the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook warning of Russian efforts to influence the special counsel’s investigation by promoting the release of a classified Republican memo criticizing the FBI probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign.
A website monitoring Russia-linked Twitter accounts found that their use of #releasethememo increased nearly 300,000 percent in just a few days.
California Democrats Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff urged the CEOs to conduct their own examination and submit their findings to Congress, the Washington Post reports.
“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process,” said a letter to Facebook and Twitter from Rep. Adam B. Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats from California who are the top members of their party on the House Intelligence Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively.
“It is critically important that the Special Counsel’s investigation be allowed to proceed without interference from inside or outside the United States,” the lawmakers said, referring to the probe by Robert Mueller.
Feinstein is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Schiff is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Both committees are conducting their own investigations into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
Numerous U.S. spy agencies have unanimously agreed that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, in part through a deliberate campaign of false news stories on social media.
President Trump has been reluctant to recognize the intelligence agencies’ conclusions. In November, Trump said he believes the findings of the agencies “as currently led” by his appointees.
The Democrats’ warning to the tech leaders cites real-time analytics from the website Hamilton 68 as evidence for their concern. The site, named after one of the Federalist papers authored by founding father Alexander Hamilton, claims to track 600 Twitter accounts “linked to Russian influence operations.”
The Russian effort is aimed to help Congressional Republicans who have escalated their war against the FBI in an effort to shield President Trump from a potential indictment.
The House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, produced a classified memo allegedly detailing abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the FBI.
Now, the hashtag #releasethememo has gone viral thanks to over 600 accounts affiliated with Russia that have been supporting the influence effort, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based group that examines efforts by Russia and other nations to interfere in democratic institutions.
“If these reports are accurate, we are witnessing an ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process,” Feinstein and Schiff said.
You can read the letter below: