Russian President Vladimir Putin offered kind words for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., despite the Republican's repeated calls for sanctions against the former Soviet nation.
McCain has previously called Putin a "murderer and a thug who seeks to undermine American national security interests at every turn."
"Well, honestly, I like Senator McCain to a certain extent," Putin said in an upcoming interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone for Showtime, a clip of which was released Thursday, according to The Hill.
"And I'm not joking. I like him because of his patriotism, and I can relate to his consistency in fighting for the interests of his own country."
Putin goes on to compare McCain with Roman senator Cato the Elder, who voiced his opposition to Greek influence on Rome by "always finish[ing] his speeches using the same words, 'Carthage must be destroyed.'"
He added that this "Old World" patriotism makes McCain "reluctant to look into the future, unwilling to recognize how fast the world is changing" and not seeing "the real threat."
Former FBI Director James Comey said in testimony before Congress Thursday that "The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle," despite Putin's assertion that no government agents acted to influence the election.
"It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence," Comey added. "It's not a close call. That happened. That's about as unfake as you can possibly get."
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