Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed concerned he not be quoted as overstating presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's intelligence, but he praised billionaire businessman's desire to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Putin disputed that he had ever called Trump "brilliant" but said that he believed the celebrity businessman to be "bright."

"I only said that he is a bright person. Isn't he bright?" Putin said. "He is. I did not say anything else about him." But there's one thing that I paid attention to, and that I definitely welcome, is that Mr. Trump said that he's ready to. What can there be bad about it? Don't you welcome it? We all welcome it."

It was in December that a Russian news publication quoted Putin's praise for Trump.

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