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Putin says Trump impeachment based on 'made-up grounds'
[MOSCOW] Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the impeachment of Donald Trump was based on "made-up" grounds, adding he did not believe it marked the end of the US president.
"It still needs to go through the Senate, where the Republicans have a majority," Mr Putin said after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power.
"And it is hardly likely that they are going to push out of office a representative of their own party, on grounds that are absolutely made-up," he added.
Speaking at his marathon end-of-year news conference, Mr Putin described the events in the US legislature as "simply the continuation of a internal political fight" between Democrats and Republicans.
He reproached the journalist who asked the question for "speaking about Trump as if he is finished".
Mr Trump was impeached Wednesday over a telephone conversation where he pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.
Mr Putin indicated he believed this was only a pretext used by the Democrats to impeach Mr Trump after failing to corner him over claims that Moscow interfered in the presidential elections that brought him to power.
"The Democrats accused Trump of a plot with Russia, and then it emerged that there was no kind of plot. It could not be the basis of an impeachment," said Mr Putin.
"Then they thought up some kind of pressure on Ukraine."