- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - Maybe Alec Baldwin was busy. Maybe “Saturday Night Live” figured viewers had seen plenty of President Donald Trump for real this inauguration weekend.

In any case, Baldwin’s piercing Trump impersonation was absent for Saturday’s edition, making way for cast member Beck Bennett’s shirtless portrayal of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

In the NBC show’s cold opening, mock-Putin addressed the audience as if to assure them that Trump’s ascent is his, too.

“Yesterday, we all made Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States, and today many of you are scared and marching in the streets,” make-believe Putin said, then added, “Relax. I got this.”

“Do I think your president’s perfect?” he went on. “Perhaps not. But don’t worry. I’ll get him there.”

“Remember,” he said consolingly, “we’re in this together.”

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