Because if there's no direct control Trump seems to have some kind of weird hero-worship thing going on for Putin.
Trump will say nice things about anyone who says nice things about him, and will shit on anyone who shits on him. Putin says nice things about Trump, so Trump says nice things about Putin.
Also, Trump respects Putin because unlike most every other western world leader, Putin doesn't shit on his own people. Yes, Putin's first priority is Putin, but he at least tries to keep the Russian people from wanting to kill themselves. Russians want families and a future, so Putin promotes the Orthodox Church and Russians get married and make baby Russians. They don't want to get blown up by terrorists, so Putin slaughters any muslims who try to start shit in Russia, and doesn't take in "refugees." Compare to Merkel, who floods her country with violent savages who rape the German women and then persecutes anyone who says "maybe less violent savages?" for hate speech.
That is why Trump respects Putin, because under him Russia has a future, and western europe does not, and Trump believed under our old leadership America had no future, but under him it will. Oh, and I'm not trying to convince you America will have a better future under Trump, I'm telling you Trump believes America will have a future under him.