Less than 24 hours after his impeachment on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump received support from a familiar foreign ally.
On Thursday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said Trump, 73, was impeached because of “far-fetched” reasons and echoed the Republican rallying cry that Trump’s impeachment is simply the Democrats’ answer to losing the 2016 election.
“It’s simply a continuation of internal political struggle,” Putin, 67, told reporters in Moscow, according to the Associated Press. “The party that lost the (2016) election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means.”
Putin and the Russian government have been a primary focus for those lobbying for Trump’s impeachment since 2016, especially during the extended probe into Trump’s election and whether he was aided by Russian influence on American voters.
Both Trump and Putin have denied allegations of collusion during the 2016 election and U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the matter failed to convince Congress to open up an impeachment investigation.
Impeachment discussions were tabled until a CIA whistleblower tipped off U.S. officials to Trump’s pressure on Ukraine earlier this year, leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give in to Democratic calls for Trump’s impeachment and open an investigation into the administration’s foreign affairs.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following an investigation that detailed how the U.S. president bribed Ukrainian leaders into opening investigations of his political rivals by withholding $400 million in military aid from the country.
Trump will now face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where he’ll likely be acquitted of the impeachment charges.
“They will be unlikely to remove a representative of their own party from office on what seems to me absolutely far-fetched reasons,” Putin said Thursday, the AP reported.
The Russian leader also backed Trump’s theory that Democrats are fabricating and exaggerating evidence in order to impeach the U.S. president, saying they’ve “invented some sort of pressure on Ukraine.”
Trump’s trial in the Senate is expected to begin in early January.