Dem: Russians know Trump is ‘going to continue giving them cover'

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) warned Friday that Russia may continue trying to interfere in U.S. elections because President Trump "is going to continue giving them cover."

"I don't see the Russians stopping. I do believe they're going to continue pushing the envelope, especially when they see the president is going to continue giving them cover," Gallego said during an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room." 

"And 2018 is going to be a very important year, and they know that they can target just a couple of congressional races, and they could really turn the tide and potentially get the type of politicians they want that would be beneficial to Russian goals," he added.

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Gallego's comments come after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alerted 21 states on Friday that Russia attempted to hack their election systems before the 2016 election.

DHS said that in a majority of states it only saw preparations for hacking, like scanning to find potential modes for an attack.

Trump has long dismissed scrutiny of Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election, accusing Democrats of trying to undermine his electoral win by condemning Russian meddling.

In a tweet Friday, Trump called reports of Kremlin-linked groups buying Facebook ads to sway the election part of "the Russia hoax."

Facebook said Thursday it would turn over to Congress copies of thousands of political ads published on its platform over the past two years that were linked to fake Russian-based accounts.