I was wondering when he'd say it. I thought about it immediately while reading about his interview where the subject about Putin and journalists first came up.
Also, his quip about Hillary is actually based upon a proven lie: “She lies like crazy about everything, whether it's trips where she was being gunned down in a helicopter or an airplane, she's a liar and everybody knows that."
The negative propaganda against Putin is gigantic. It's an industry. The Russian state and its security and intelligence apparatus has been involved in very dark things over the decades, but it is impossible to know for sure from the outside the degree to which Putin disagreed or disagrees now with those dark acts.
We have had competing interests in US security and intelligence. We know that. It's a constant struggle within security and intelligence as to the direction to go and the actions to take.
Trump is rather helter-skelter in his research and when and where to reserve judgment, though he seems to be improving on that just a little. He'll have to improve on it a great deal to be other than a disaster as President.
What he mostly is, is a pragmatist. I think pragmatism is his religion. That's not bad provided he can come to understand that the highest ethical and moral standards are in the end the most pragmatic. How to bring the people along is the challenge (once the leader knows about ethics and pragmatism himself or herself). Waterboarding, which Trump supports, certainly isn't pragmatic even in the shortest run. It's simply stupid, in addition to being pure evil.
Putin on Thursday praised Trump during a wide-ranging news conference, calling him “talented without doubt.”