WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There have been few chuckles during U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. But a wisecrack on Thursday about Russian President Vladimir Putin produced some laughter, at least from the Democratic side of the chamber.

Representative Adam Schiff, the leader of the House of Representatives team making the case for Trump’s impeachment, recalled how Putin in November had said he was relieved that Ukraine, instead of Russia, was now being accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“‘Thank God,’ Putin said, ‘Thank God nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in U.S. elections, now they’re accusing Ukraine,’” Schiff said.

“‘Thank God,’ Putin says,” Schiff continued. “Well, you gotta give Donald Trump credit for this, he has made a religious man out of Vladimir Putin.”

There was plenty of laughter among Democratic senators at this, but it was not shared on the Republican side of the Senate.

“I don’t think we really want Vladimir Putin, our adversary to be thanking God for the president of the United States. Because they don’t wish us well,” Schiff, a Democrat, added.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Shepardson; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown

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