Under pressure to show he's taking the threat of Russian interference seriously, President Trump claimed without evidence Tuesday that Moscow will be "fighting very hard" to help Democrats win in the 2018 midterm elections, the AP reports. Trump, who has offered mixed messages on Russian interference in US elections—at times even calling it a "hoax"—acknowledged in a tweet that the midterms are a likely target. "I'm very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election," Trump wrote. "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!" That's despite Russian President Vladimir Putin saying outright last week, following the leaders' summit in Helsinki, that he wanted Trump to win in 2016.
US intelligence agencies also have determined that Russia interfered in the election to help him win, and the agencies have warned there are ominous signs of more cyberattacks to come. As Trump tweeted on Tuesday, House Republicans held a hearing on election security in which lawmakers—even some of Trump's closest GOP allies—strongly criticized Russian interference and pointed to an indictment this month of 12 Russian intelligence officers. The indictment alleges that the Russians broke into Democratic email accounts and tried to penetrate state election systems. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy noted that the indictment said there is no evidence the vote count was affected, "but that was not likely for a lack of trying." Meanwhile in the Senate on Tuesday, two senators introduced bipartisan legislation to impose new Russian sanctions, saying the US "must make it abundantly clear that we will defend our nation." (Read more President Trump stories.)