By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes Moscow will try to influence November congressional elections in favor of the Democrats and not his fellow Republicans, although the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia tried to help Trump win the 2016 poll.
“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” the U.S. president tweeted on July 24.
Trump did not provide evidence to support his claim. U.S. intelligence officials have said Russia is still trying to interfere in the electoral process and is now targeting the November 6 congressional polls.
Democrats need two more seats to take over the Senate and 23 seats to have a majority in the House of Representatives.
In case Democrats will manage to win control of one of the two chambers, they could derail or stall much of Trump’s policy agenda and more aggressively push for a congressional investigation of Trump’s administration.
Trump, at a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, appeared to dismiss findings by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and gave credence to Putin’s denials.
Critics accused Trump of siding with Russia over his own country’s intelligence agencies.
Trump later said he misspoke in Helsinki and that he agreed with the conclusioins of U.S. intelligence. He called the summit a success and last week invited Putin to visit Washington in the autumn.
But Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House, said on July 24 that Putin will not be invited to address Congress if he accepts Trump’s invitation.
“We would certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session,” Ryan added. “That’s something we reserve for allies.”