Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
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Democrats seize House control, but Trump's GOP holds Senate

Democrats seize House control, but Trump's GOP holds Senate

President Trump immediately set his sights on re-election in 2020 yesterday after claiming to have "defied history" by making gains in USA midterm elections even as his party lost control of one chamber of Congress. He said in a tweet Wednesday that if they do, the Republican-controlled Senate may investigate Democrats.

Democrats will use their new majority to reverse what they see as a hands-off approach by Republicans toward Trump's foreign policy, and push for tougher dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

"The expectation is that we will behave as a real branch of government and not just a supplicant to Trump, which this current Congress has been for the last two years", said Representative Raúl Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona. It wasn't clear what "leaks" he was referring to. "I want to probe senior administration officials across the government who have abused their positions of power and wasted taxpayer money, as well as President Trump's decisions to act in his own financial self-interest".

Midterm elections are always a referendum on the president, and never more so than in 2018, when Trump told voters across the country that he was on the ballot.

But also in Texas, Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic congressman and former punk rock singer who had raised an unprecedented $60 million in his mission to win in the Republican stronghold, fell short to arch-conservative former presidential contender Ted Cruz.

The Republicans' control of the Senate is arguably more significant, says the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Washington, because Mr Trump focused his campaigning on Senate races, and candidates he backed clearly benefited.

Joining Davids as one of the first Indigenous women elected to Congress was fellow Democrat Deb Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe who will represent New Mexico's first district.

And in Virginia, Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency official, unseated Representative Dave Brat, a Tea Party darling who himself scored a huge upset four years ago when he defeated his predecessor, Eric Cantor, the Republican leader, in a Republican primary.

For example, Cummings and other Democratic lawmakers previous year filed a federal lawsuit demanding disclosures of records to determine how Trump was approved by the General Services Administration to maintain the lease of the Trump International Hotel in Washington after he became president.

Despite Trump's enthusiasm, it was a mixed night for the GOP.

"I plan to shine a light on waste, fraud and abuse in the Trump administration", Cummings said Wednesday. Some 25% described health care and immigration as the most important issues in the election.

Trump said he wasn't sure whether he should be happy or sad about their defeats.

The president bet big on a xenophobic closing message, warning of an immigrant "invasion" that promised to spread violent crime and drugs across the nation. Several television networks, including the president's favorite Fox News Channel, yanked a Trump campaign advertisement off the air on the eve of the election, determining that its portrayal of a murderous immigrant went too far.

Democrats won the House, which will change hands for the third time in 12 volatile years, by performing strongly in suburban areas where Trump's flaming rhetoric is toxic. Both Barack Obama's and Bill Clinton's numbers were 5 points higher, and both suffered major midterm losses of 63 and 54 House seats respectively.

They argue that such favours to Trump include Chinese government trademarks for his companies, payments for hotel room stays and event-space rentals by representatives of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and proceeds from Chinese or Emirati-linked government purchases of office space in Trump Tower.

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