Dems Feinstein, Schiff suggest Russian bots pushed for release of controversial memo

Top Democrats are calling on Facebook and Twitter to investigate and release information behind potential Russian-linked accounts pushing for the release of a sealed congressional memo allegedly containing details on U.S. government surveillance abuses.

In a letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the social media platforms to “conduct an in-depth forensic examination” of their own into the online campaign, The Hill reported.

Their letter claimed that recent Russian efforts were attempting “to influence congressional action and undermine Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation” into possible meddling into the 2016 presidential election.

Schiff and Feinstein, both California lawmakers, suggested that a trending Twitter hashtag, #ReleaseTheMemo, got a strong boost from Kremlin-linked groups.

However, sources familiar with Twitter’s internal analysis told The Daily Beast that the trending hashtag “appears thus far to be organically American” not Russian.

Several prominent Republicans have called for the four-page memo to become public. They have suggested that it contained damning evidence the Obama administration used FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants to spy on the Trump campaign as well as his transition team ahead of the president’s swearing-in.

The memo “was deeply disturbing as anyone who’s been in law enforcement and any American will find out once they have the opportunity to review it,” Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, said. “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., added.

The letter went on to say that if it were true the Kremlin was behind the online campaign, “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,” adding that it would be the “latest example of Russian interference.”

Just last week, Twitter announced that it suspended more than 1,000 Russia-linked accounts that shared information meant to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook, however, announced last week that it would be doing away with its “disputed flags” measure meant to allow users to flag fake news, stating it did not stop the spread of such content but in fact encouraged people to click on it.

Schiff and Feinstein have asked that Twitter and Facebook release their findings to the public by January 26.

Fox News' Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.