This was the moment Putin knew he had 'Trump's number': reporters
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin 99Photo via AFP)

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe' on Tuesday morning, journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser cited a specific exchange between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that they believe set the tone for how the Russian president would manipulate his American counterpart going forward.

While promoting their book, "The Divider," the two authors noted that Putin quickly became aware that Trump loved attention and flattery as he boasted about tributes offered to him by other world leaders.

That, in turn, led the Russian leader to openly mock Trump to his face although the American president likely didn't understand it.

Speaking with "Morning Joe" host Willie Geist, Baker explained, "The president of the United States said he believed, in effect, in the president of Russia more than he believed his own intelligence agencies. That had a huge impact back here. A lot of people said, 'Oh, my gosh.' Privately, we learned intelligence officials were quite stunned and disturbed by this."

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"Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence picked by Trump, a loyal Republican for many many years, was so stunned by what he saw there that he said, you know, he told people afterward, he told colleagues, I was wondering, does Putin really have something on President Trump. Maybe there is something there in all of this," Baker continued.

"He, the head of the intelligence agency who had access to all the information out there didn't know whether the American president had been compromised in some way because his behavior was so out of sync with traditional American views," he elaborated. "And you're right, it's interesting because the view didn't seem to be reciprocated by President Putin."

"There is a meeting in Osaka, Japan, a G20 meeting where the president has a side meeting with President Putin, and he's bragging about ways people were trying to honor him," he recalled. "The Poles were going to name a fort after him: Fort Trump. The Israelis were going to name a settlement after him, you know, Trump Heights. And Putin sort of says maybe they should name all of Israel after you -- and it's this moment that really captures Putin's view of this. He gets Trump's number. He understands the narcissism and flattery that's required to deal with him. And he's sort of mocking him to his face in a private meeting."

"It makes you wonder, of course, you know, you want to know more about that relationship, and probably more will be learned in years to come. I thought it was a telling moment," he admitted.

Watch the video below or at this link.

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