Warner hits Trump: He's 'unwilling to acknowledge' Russian threat

Warner hits Trump: He's 'unwilling to acknowledge' Russian threat
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused President Trump on Wednesday of getting in the way of efforts to combat Russian influence operations in the U.S.

During a hearing in which Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before the Senate panel, Warner took the companies to task for failing to detect the foreign interference campaign, before turning his sights on the White House.

"It is not just the platforms that need to do more," Warner said in his opening statement. "The U.S. government has thus far proven incapable of adapting to meet this 21st century challenge. Unfortunately, I believe this effort is suffering, in part, because of a lack of leadership at the top."

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"We have a president who remains unwilling to acknowledge the threat that Russia poses to our democracy," he continued. "President Trump should stop actively delegitimizing American journalism and acknowledge and address this real threat posed by Russian propaganda."

Warner also called on Congress to take up the Honest Ads Act, a bill that he introduced last month with Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Booker says he will not make December debate stage Yang: 2020 rivals in Senate should be able to campaign amid impeachment MORE (D-Minn.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE (R-Ariz.) that would subject online political ads to tougher transparency rules like the ones that govern traditional media.

The bill and Tuesday's hearing come after the three social media giants have admitted to selling political ads to a Russian "troll farm" that was aiming to influence last year's presidential campaign.