In 2013, in an interview that aired on MSNBC, Donald Trump said he had a relationship with Vladimir Putin. Trump was effusive in his praise of Putin and his actions in Syria, comparing him directly to Obama and judging Putin to be superior. Source
On October 17, 2013, on the Late Show with David Letterman, Donald Trump said that he had “done a lot of business with the Russians,” and claimed to have met Vladimir Putin once. Source
On November 11, 2013, Donald Trump posted a note to Aras Agalarov on Twitter confirming that they had discussed plans for a Trump Tower to be built in Moscow.
@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2013
On November 12, 2013, Itar-Tass, a Russian government-controlled news agency, reported a conversation with Donald Trump where he said, “’I have plans to start business in Russia… I am currently in talks with several Russian companies to build a skyscraper on the model of Trump Tower in New York.’ The businessman did not name his partners or the size of the investment.” Source
On February 10, 2014, on the Fox & Friends television show, Donald Trump claimed that Putin contacted him while he was in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant. Source Later, at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump claimed that Putin had sent him a “beautiful present” at the pageant. Source
On November 10, 2015, at a Republican primary campaign debate, Donald Trump stated, “I got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on 60 minutes, we were stablemates. We did well that night.” However, in fact, for the episode of 60 minutes to which Trump referred, Trump was interviewed in his New York City home, but Vladimir Putin was interviewed in Moscow. Source
On CBS’s This Morning on July 27, 2016, Donald Trump said of Russia, “We have no relationship.” Source
On October 19, 2016, during a debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said, “I don’t know Putin. I have no idea… I never met Putin. This is not my best friend.” Source