Putin calls Trump impeachment 'far-fetched'

Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSchiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial The need for clear thinking about Russia German president expresses 'sorrow' for Holocaust, warns 'spirits of evil' are rising MORE on Thursday labeled the House’s impeachment of President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE “far-fetched,” according to The Associated Press.

Putin, speaking at his annual news conference in Moscow, reportedly dismissed Trump's impeachment as “the party that lost the election, the Democratic Party ... trying to achieve results by other means.” 

He also noted the effort is almost certainly doomed in the Republican-controlled Senate, saying the upper chamber “will be unlikely to remove a representative of their own party from office on what seems to me an absolutely far-fetched reason.”

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Putin also compared the Democrats' impeachment inquiry to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE’s investigation, which found the Trump campaign welcomed and benefited from Russian election interference but was unable to establish a conspiracy between the campaign and Moscow.

The House voted 230 to 197 late Wednesday to impeach Trump for abuse of power over allegations he withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE. It also voted 229 to 197 to impeach him for obstruction of Congress. Trump, who became only the third president to be impeached in U.S. history, now faces a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely he will be removed from office. 

Putin made the comments as part of a wide-ranging conference in which he also rejected calls to remove the body of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin from Moscow’s Red Square, saying Lenin is viewed as an icon by older Russians who would be offended by such a move, the AP noted.

He also declined to say whether he had plans to extend his rule past the end of his term in 2024, saying that amending the Russian Constitution to change the president's and Cabinet’s powers was on the table but extensive public discussions are needed.