Impeachment’s rough, but at least President Trump’s got a loyal pal in Moscow to defend him.
The day after the historic House vote, Russian President Vladimir Putin amplified Republican talking points about impeachment at his annual end-of-year press conference Thursday — basically saying it’s a bunch of nonsense from the Democrats.
“This is nothing but a continuation of an internal political struggle, with the party that lost the election, the Democratic Party, trying to reach its goal by different means,” Putin said.
Asked how Russia would communicate with Trump until his presidency ended, Putin effectively told reporters there’s no way the U.S. president would actually be removed from office.
"Regarding the continuation of our dialogue till the end of Trump's presidency, you make it sound as if it's already coming to an end," he said. "I actually really doubt that it is ending. It still has to go through Senate, where as far as I know the Republicans hold the majority, so it's unlikely they will want to remove the representative of their party for some made-up reasons."
Trump on Wednesday became just the third U.S. president in history to be impeached, the House voting nearly exactly down partisan lines.
“The president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections — the basis of our democracy,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to open debate on the House floor.
The comments from Pelosi are, of course, a reference to Trump pushing Ukraine for an investigation into the Bidens to gather political dirt for the 2020 election ― the basis for impeaching Trump on abuse of power. But Trump also received help from Russia in 2016 when, according to the U.S. intelligence community, Putin orchestrated an influence campaign that hacked and released Hillary Clinton’s emails.
In his press conference Thursday, Putin also pushed Trump’s “no collusion” line about the 2016 election.
“First they accuse Trump of a collusion with Russia. Then it turns out there was no collusion, so this cannot be used as a basis for impeachment,” Putin said. “Now they’ve come up with the idea he put pressure on Ukraine.”
Cover: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)