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 WarnerThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Trump's intel moves spark Democratic fury 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 KlobucharWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE (D-Minn.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain says Steyer should drop out: 'I hate that guy' Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman 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.