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Trump tells AP he won't accept blame if GOP loses House

Facing the prospect of bruising electoral defeat in congressional elections, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he won't accept the blame if his party loses control of the House in November, arguing his campaigning and endorsements have helped Republican candidates.



In a wide-ranging interview three weeks before Election Day, Trump told The Associated Press he senses voter enthusiasm rivaling 2016 and he expressed cautious optimism that his most loyal supporters will vote even when he is not on the ballot.

The AP asked Trump "if Republicans were to lose control of the House on November 6th or a couple of days later depending on how long it takes to count the votes do you believe you bear some responsibility for that?" 

"No, I think I'm helping people," Trump said.

Elaborating, Trump added: "And I will say that we have a very big impact. I don't believe anybody's ever had this kind of an impact. They would say that in the old days that if you got the support of a president or if you've got the support of somebody it would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I've endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement." 

Trump spoke on a range of subjects, defending Saudi Arabia from growing condemnation over the case of a missing journalist, accusing his longtime attorney Michael Cohen of lying under oath and flashing defiance when asked about the insult "Horseface" he hurled at Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who accuses him of lying about an affair.

Asked if it was appropriate to insult a woman's appearance, Trump responded, "You can take it any way you want." 

Throughout much of the nearly 40-minute interview, he sat, arms crossed, in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk, flanked by top aides, including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and communications director Bill Shine. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway listened from a nearby sofa.

The interview came as Trump's administration was being urged to pressure Saudi Arabia to account for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Instead, Trump offered a defense for the US ally, warning against a rush to judgment, like with what happened with his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault.

"Well, I think we have to find out what happened first," Trump said. 

"Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way." Weeks away from the midterms, Democrats are hopeful about their chances to recapture the House, while Republicans are increasingly confident they can hold control of the Senate.

Trump has been campaigning aggressively in a blitz of rallies aimed at firing up his base. He said he believes he's doing his job, but allowed he has heard from some of his supporters who say they may not vote this November.

"I'm not running," he said. "I mean, there are many people that have said to me ... 'I will never ever go and vote in the midterms because you're not running and I don't think you like Congress.'" 

 
 
           
 
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