Ukraine, Russia presidents downplay Trump ouster

Friday, December 20th, 2019 12:00 |
US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides over Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. Photo/AFP

Washington, Thursday

Ukraine and Russian presidents Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday downplayed US president Donal Trump impeachment.

Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office.

The House voted on two charges - that the president had abused his power and that he had obstructed Congress.

Ukraine brushed off the impeachment as a US “internal issue”, despite the process being triggered by a telephone conversation between the American leader and his Ukrainian counterpart.

Abuse of power

Trump was impeached on Wednesday by the House of Representatives for abuse of power over the July conversation with President Zelensky.

“Ukraine does not interfere in the internal affairs of any state,” Zelensky’s spokeswoman Yuliya Mendel said.

“The United States remains a strategic partner for us, and we are pleased to strengthen our relations by expanding cooperation in various fields,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on the other hand said the impeachment 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. 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, Putin described the events in the US legislature as “simply the continuation of a internal political fight” between Democrats and Republicans.

Nearly all Democrats voted for the charges and every Republican against.

President Trump’s Republicans control the Senate so it is highly unlikely he will be removed from power.

Democrats are already unhappy at the way the trial could be held. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has now indicated it might delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, in order to bargain on the terms of the proceedings.

This could put off the trial indefinitely, denying Trump his expected acquittal.

Trump remained defiant as the voting took place, telling a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan: “While we’re creating jobs and fighting for Michigan, the radical left in Congress is consumed with envy and hatred and rage.”

After 10 hours of partisan debate on the merits of the two impeachment charges against President Trump, the House called for votes at about 20:30 on Wednesday.

Being impeached places Trump alongside only two other presidents in the nation’s history - Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.  -Agencies

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