Michael Morell, a former acting director of the CIA, on Sunday linked Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds Pruitt spent K flying aides to Australia to prep for later-canceled visit: report Rosenstein told Trump he is not a target of Mueller probe: report MORE to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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"In Putin's mind, I have no doubt that Putin thinks that he's an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation, although Putin would never say that," Morell said on ABC's "This Week."

"From Mr. Trump's perspective, right, he simply heard Putin compliment him.  He then responded by complimenting him.  He never thought that he might be being played."

Morell, who last week announced he would support Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJustice to provide access to Comey memos to GOP lawmakers Justice Dept inspector asks US attorney to consider criminal charges for McCabe: reports 'Homeland' to drop Trump allegories in next season MORE, called Putin "very talented," saying he has "manipulated people much smarter than Donald Trump."

"He played this perfectly, right. He saw that Donald Trump wanted to be complimented," he said.

"He complimented him. That led Donald Trump to then compliment Vladimir Putin and to defend Vladimir Putin's actions in a number of places around the world," he continued.

"And Donald Trump didn't even understand, right, that Putin was playing him."

Clinton's campaign has been attempting to link the GOP nominee to Russia.

Trump has in the past praised the Russian president, and some have raised questions about whether the candidate's refusal to release his tax returns has anything to do with business ties to Russia.