The following are highlights from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual end-of-year news conference on Thursday.
ON IMPEACHMENT OF U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that U.S. Democrats had impeached President Donald Trump for “fabricated” reasons in order to reverse his 2016 election victory.
Putin, speaking at his annual year-end news conference, said he expected Trump to survive the proceedings and stay in office.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach Trump, but Putin, like most observers, said he expected the Republican Senate to acquit him.
“It’s unlikely they will want to remove from power a representative of their party based on what are, in my opinion, completely fabricated reasons,” said Putin.
“This is simply a continuation of the (U.S.) intra-political battle where one party that lost an election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results using other methods and means.
“They first accused Trump of a conspiracy with Russia. Then it turned out there wasn’t a conspiracy and that it couldn’t be the basis for impeachment. Now they have dreamt up (the idea) of some kind of pressure being exerted on Ukraine.”