Russian pro-Putin leader praises ‘brave’ Trump and offers to fly entire political party to Mar-a-Lago

Tom Embury-Dennis

The leader of a nationalist party in Russia has offered to fly his members out to Donald Trump’s private Florida residence in order to celebrate the US president’s impeachment “victory”.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the pro-Putin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), made the offer in a Saturday morning tweet in which he also offered his congratulations to Mr Trump, whom he described as “brave” and the “strongest” president in US history.

It came after Mr Trump was acquitted by Republicans in the Senate on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress after he attempted to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations into Joe Biden, a political rival.

“Dear @realDonaldTrump, I congratulate you on your victory in the Senate and the failure of vile and false accusations against you. Today you are the model leader of a huge modern state and the strongest president the US have ever had,” said Mr Zhirinovsky, who has been described as far-right and an antisemite.

“You are a brave man and you can make America great again. We are outraged by the actions of Mrs. Pelosi. Her behaviour was inappropriate. It was clever of you to refuse shaking her hand. We were shocked by the treacherous act of the republican Romney, who voted against you.

“All members of the LDPR fraction are ready to fly to the USA to raise glass to your success. We propose you a dinner at our expense in Miami, where your beautiful Mar-a-Lago estate is located.”

Mr Zhirinovsky’s comment came just hours after an emboldened Mr Trump went on a firing spree of administration officials who he perceives were opposed to him during his impeachment trial.

Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland, two key witnesses in the case against the president, were sacked on Friday evening, as was Mr Vindman’s brother, Yevgeny, a lawyer in the National Security Council.

If Mr Trump were to accept Mr Zhirinovsky’s offer of payment for a dinner at Mar-a-Lago, it would likely constitute a violation of the Emoluments Clause, which prevents presidents from receiving any gift or payment from foreign officials.

Mr Trump has, however, already angrily denounced the rule as the “phoney emoluments clause”.

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