WASHINGTON -- Democrats have won majority control of the House of Representatives, vowing to hold U.S. President Donald Trump accountable, while Republicans have retained their control of the Senate, according to official results from the Tuesday November 6 2018 midterm elections.
House Democrats were on track to gain more than two dozen seats in the 435-seat House, bringing an end to the Republicans' control over both chambers of the legislature and raising the likelihood that Trump will face increased pressure over the next two years.
That's because Democrats will have ways to check his executive powers -- including opportunities to block legislation and launch investigations into issues like Trump's tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest, and allegations of links between Trump associates and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.
A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence emerges that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia or that he obstructed justice.
But Trump can't be removed from office without a vote against him by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Late on Tuesday night, Trump declared on Twitter that the vote was a "tremendous success' in an election widely seen as a referendum on his presidency.
Despite the Republican loss of the House, Trump late on Tuesday declared victory on Twitter where he described the results as a "tremendous success' in an election widely seen as a referendum on his presidency.
'Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye!' Trump wrote on Twitter on November 7. 'Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!'
With Republicans on track to expand their narrow majority in the Senate by at least two seats, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump called the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 'to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains.'
Trump was scheduled to give a post-election news conference in Washington at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Meanwhile, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi -- seen as the likely next House speaker -- declared victory for Democrats in a speech late on Tuesday, saying 'tomorrow will be a new day for America.'
"Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans,' Pelosi said. 'It's about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration.'
Still, Pelosi said Democrats will seek to cooperate with Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate in areas like infrastructure, where they share similar goals with the president.
'We will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship. We have all had enough of division,' she said.
Trump Tweeted later on Wednesday that if the Democrats plan to 'waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level,' then Republicans 'will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level.'
'Two can play that game!' Trump said, without clarifying what leaks he was referring to.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that relations between Russia and the United States cannot get much worse, but also suggested that prospects for improvement are hard to discern following the U.S. midterm elections.
Peskov did not predict that relations would deteriorate further. But, he said, 'one can suggest with a high degree of certainty that, of course, rosy prospects for the normalization of Russian-American relations are not visible on the horizon.'
U.S. midterm elections usually draw fewer voters to the polls than presidential elections, but this year the turnout was significantly higher than usual.
There were scattered reports of problems in some places around the country, including long lines and malfunctioning computer scanners.
Still, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters there was no indication of 'compromise to our nation's election infrastructure.'
In addition to U.S. congressional posts, voters in many states also cast ballots for governors and new members of state legislatures.
Democratic candidates flipped control of governor's offices by winning in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Maine, and Nevada.
Democrats also retained the governor's offices in California, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon, Hawaii, and Colorado.
In Colorado, voters elected Democrat Jared Polis as governor -- making him the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a U.S. state.
Republicans retained control of the governor's offices in Iowa, Idaho, Vermont, Florida, Massachusetts, and South Dakota.
Some states were also holding referendums on specific issues such as taxes, animal cruelty, legalizing marijuana, or increasing the minimum wage.
With reporting by Mike Eckel in Washington, AP, Reuters, dpa, AFP, CNN-TV, NBC-TV
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036