Putin Has Manipulated Trump Through His Ego Because It's Impossible to Embarrass Him, Former CIA Director Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked to influence his American counterpart Donald Trump, not through money or by holding potentially embarrassing material over his head but rather through ego, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Wednesday.

Related: Was Trump a 'Puppet'? Cambridge Analytica Previously Tested Americans' Views on Putin, Wall, Swamp: Report

There has been much talk of the pair's relationship and whether Putin holds anything over Trump since a phone call between the two leaders earlier this week. The U.S. president, against the apparent instructions of his advisers, congratulated Putin on winning Russia's presidential and said nothing about the poisoning of a spy on British soil allegedly carried out by the Kremlin.

Hayden suggested that Putin was seeking to manipulate Trump and that it was clear what strategy he was using.

"We've got this little pneumonic that we use, MICE: Money, ideology, compromise and ego," Hayden told CNN, recalling his background in the intelligence community. "And if I'm looking at those four approaches, if I'm the Russians looking at Donald Trump, I don't know that I would instinctively go to compromise."

He continued: "It's awfully hard to embarrass the president. He blew right through that Access Hollywood tape without blinking. If I was going to try to work to influence our president if I were a Russian, I think I'd go to ego. And we have seen, we have seen Putin go out of his way to praise President Trump."

Putin has indeed regularly praised Trump, while often assigning fault for any U.S. policies he disagrees with to Congress or other officials. Earlier this month, in an interview with NBC, Putin praised Trump's "strong leadership qualities," adding that he was a "quick study."

Hayden went onto describe the two men as "kindred spirits," adding that there was a "convergence in terms of how President Trump would like to govern and how President Putin does govern."

Trump, on Wednesday, sought to defend his congratulating of Putin, talking up the benefits of a positive relationship with Russia.

"I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also)," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing."