President Donald Trump has again blasted the federal probe into Russia's influence during the 2016 campaign. While the investigation is currently exploring whether or not Russian sources bought advertisements on social networks, Trump asserted that the only influence during the election was a media-bias in favor of his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
On Sept. 22, Trump took to social media to blast the ongoing federal probe into the 2016 election.
"The Russia hoax continues, now it's ads on Facebook," the president tweeted out. "What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?"
A few hours later, Trump followed up by tweeting, "The greatest influence over our election was the Fake News Media 'screaming' for Crooked Hillary Clinton. Next, she was a bad candidate!"
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller and several congressional committees are probing whether or not associates of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to subvert the 2016 presidential race. Mueller's federal probe is also investigating whether or not Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey, who had previously headed the Russia inquiry.
On Sept. 6, Facebook disclosed that $100,000 worth of its advertising space during the 2016 election had been bought by accounts related to the Russian firm Internet Research Agency. The advertisements may have potentially been used to spread disinformation to influence U.S. voters heading into the November election. Facebook turned over the advertisements to Mueller's team. The social network also turned over 3,000 ads to congressional committees on Sept. 21, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election," said Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch in a statement.
"I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a live broadcast, promising that his social network would place more checks on its advertisement review process.
In December 2016, a study conducted by The Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center found that both Clinton and Trump had received overwhelmingly negative media coverage during the election cycle, Politico reports.
The study found media coverage of Trump was 77 percent negative and 23 percent positive. Meanwhile, Clinton's media coverage was 64 percent negative and 36 percent positive. This data indicated that while Clinton received a higher frequency of positive press coverage than Trump, both candidates were framed in a largely negative light by media outlets.