Trump: Russia probe ‘really, really unfair for the midterms’

By KEN THOMAS and DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. — President Donald Trump said Friday that the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is not only bad for the country, it’s “really, really unfair for the midterms.”

Trump said the inquiry should have been wrapped up a “long time ago.”

Asked about the investigation, which he has repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt,” Trump reiterated his insistence that there was no collusion between anyone on his presidential campaign and the Russian government. He said it was long past time for the investigation to have ended.

“We have to get it over with. It’s really bad for the country. It’s really unfair for our midterms. Really, really unfair for the midterms,” Trump told reporters traveling with him aboard Air Force One. “This thing should have been over with a long time ago.”

The president was in the midst of a two-day campaign swing through states where Republicans hope to expand their narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate by knocking off vulnerable Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Trump was flying from Montana to North Dakota to attend a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, Heitkamp’s opponent, when he spoke to reporters accompanying him on the trip, part of an intense campaign schedule Trump has planned through the Nov. 6 elections.

Asked if he would consider allowing a government shutdown before the elections, Trump said, “I would do it because I think it’s a great political issue.” But he said some Republican lawmakers would “rather not do it because they have races, they’re doing well, they’re up.”

The president told Fox News in an interview broadcast earlier Friday that a government shutdown “is up to me, but I don’t want to do anything that’s going to hurt us or potentially hurt us because I have a feeling that the Republicans are going to do very well.”

In North Dakota, Trump rattled off a list of what he considers his administration’s accomplishments as he sought to bolster Cramer, a staunch Trump supporter.

The president pointed to the Republican congressman as the best choice for the state’s Native American community, reprising an argument he made to black voters in 2016. “I go right back to where I was two years ago when I was campaigning: What do you have to lose?” Trump asked.

He brought one man to the stage to talk about how his administration was helping the coal industry. “What your administration has done is bring us back to life,” the man told Trump.

Trump was stopping in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to attend a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Kristi Noem, who is running for governor, before returning to the White House late Friday.