WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is calling NATO the "most significant military alliance in history." In remarks to reporters Tuesday, McConnell said "the European countries are our friends and the Russians are not."

McConnell says there is "indisputable evidence" Russia tried to affect the 2016 presidential election. He says the Senate understands the "Russia threat" and that is the "widespread view here in the United States Senate among members of both parties."

McConnell's words came just minutes before President Donald Trump was expected to speak about the Helsinki summit on Monday. They seemed aimed at sending a clear message both to Trump and the Europeans.

House Republicans have used a party-line vote to block a Democratic measure aimed at condemning Trump's stunning comments in Helsinki about Russia. It was the first vote testing how Congress will react to Trump's remarks.

On Monday, Trump stood beside Russian President Vladimir Putin and challenged American intelligence agencies' findings that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. He seemed to accept Putin's insistence that his government had done nothing.

By 230-183, the House rejected a Democratic measure endorsing Speaker Paul Ryan's remarks criticizing Russia. The Wisconsin Republican said "there is no question" Russia interfered in the elections and said there is "no moral equivalence" between the two countries.

The two-page Democratic proposal summarized Ryan's points and said the House "expresses its agreement" with them.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.