Democrats’ success in US midterm elections to boost confrontation with Russia, expert says

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MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. The Democrats’ success in the US midterm elections will limit President Donald Trump’s freedom of action and make him pursue an even tougher policy towards Russia, Deputy Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Russia’s Higher School of Economics Dmitry Suslov told TASS on Wednesday.

The US midterm elections took place place on November 6. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 out of the 100 seats in the Senate were up for grabs. In addition, 36 states and three territories held gubernatorial elections. A number of state and local officials were also elected. Following the vote, the Democratic Party is expected to secure a majority in the House of Representatives, while the Republican Party is likely to tighten its grip on the Senate.

Tied hand and foot

The expert went on to say that the majority in the House of Representatives will allow the Democrats to block legislative initiatives put forward by the president and his fellow Republicans. “Trump will not have a chance to pursue a policy he wants to pursue, he will be tied hand and foot. Not a single bill will pass, except for those concerning sanctions against Russia,” Suslov noted. “Moreover, the Democrats will initiate investigations into Trump’s collusion with Moscow, as well as into financial and other aspects of his activities,” he added.

According to the expert, it will significantly weaken the US president’s political position, making him “pursue an even tougher policy towards Russia so that every time he can prove that he is not a Kremlin puppet as he vigorously protects national interests in relations with Moscow,” Suslov said.

In his view, Moscow should expect new sanctions both from the Congress and the White House. “Two bills on new sanctions against Russia are currently under consideration at the Congress, which are highly likely to be passed in one form or another, besides, the US government will also impose new restrictions,” he noted.

No substantive summit in sight

In Suslov’s opinion, under these circumstances, no improvement in Russian-US relations is to be expected. Moreover, plans for a new meeting between the two countries’ presidents may be cancelled. “I don’t think that a substantive summit with Putin will ever take place – there will be no such summit neither this year, nor next year,” he stressed, adding that “Trump will simply have no political opportunity to hold such meetings.”

Confrontation will become the defining feature of relations between Moscow and Washington until the next presidential and congressional elections take place in the US in the fall of 2020. “Sanctions will continue to be imposed until the next elections,” the expert said.

No impeachment

US domestic policy tensions may also rise, though Trump’s opponents will be unable to take truly radical steps. Suslov said that the number of investigations against Trump and his close circle might grow. “The House of Representatives has the right to initiate and carry out the so-called congressional investigations, request any documents and call any government officials, including the president, to the carpet,” the expert noted.

At the same time, he believes that Trump will not face an impeachment. “No process of impeachment will be initiated because it requires holding a vote in both houses,” Suslov said, adding that “a majority of House members and at least two-thirds of senators have to support the decision to pave the way for a presidential impeachment.”

However, after securing a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats will have a chance to use the House Speaker’s position to promote their own agenda. “The House Speaker’s position is very important in the United States, as the Speaker is second in the United States presidential line of succession after the Vice President,” Suslov pointed out.

Less money for arms race

According to the expert, the United States’ foreign policy will not change much since the “House of Representatives does not make foreign policy decisions.”

“The only possible change in the foreign policy is that the Democrats will take advantage of their majority in the House of Representatives seeking to hinder the provision of funds for a new arms race,” Suslov added.

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