MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin called the U.S. impeachment process "far-fetched" Thursday, making a seemingly obvious prediction that Donald Trump will be acquitted in the Senate.
Putin said Thursday at his annual news conference in Moscow that the move is a continuation of the Democrats' fight against Trump.
"The party that lost the (2016) election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means," Putin said.
He likened Trump's impeachment to the earlier U.S. probe into collusion with Russia, which Putin downplayed as being groundless.
Putin noted that the impeachment motion "is yet to pass the Senate where the Republicans have a majority." He added that "they will be unlikely to remove a representative of their own party from office on what seems to me an absolutely far-fetched reason."
Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution's ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors.
The historic vote split along party lines Wednesday night in the U.S., much the way it has divided the nation, over a charge that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.
The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial.