Steve Schmidt, known for his work on the McCain, Bush, and Schwarzenegger campaigns, tells MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle why he thinks President Trump is what the Soviets used to call American communists, a "useful idiot."
About the report that Trump is a "subject" not a "target" of the Mueller Russia investigation, Schmidt said: "That is like the difference between being engaged and married. One before the other, inexorably linked."
STEVE SCHMIDT: The large issue here is the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, across all of the West are attacking democracies and attacking the idea of democracy.
We talk about this country as a place where people live, where things happen. But we don't talk as much as we should and as much as we used to about America as an idea. The Russian attack is on the idea of liberty, of freedom. he is undermining the notion of the capacity of the American people for self-governance. He's attacking our institutions.
The lubricants of a Democratic system are faith, trust, and belief. And Vladimir Putin is attacking that.
And this president, there is a Russian term, "useful idiot," for an unwilling or a willing collaborator to their aims, and our president is a useful idiot. He is referred to on Russia state media all the time as "our president," meaning Russia's president.
He is a useful idiot for Russia's aims of undermining our democratic institutions. When he attacks the intelligence community and the Justice Department, when he attacks and undermines institutions he is doing Vladimir Putin's bidding, his work for him.
He is undermining the American peoples' faith in the idea of America, the capacity for the American people for self-governance, and the institutions that make our country special.
It is an extraordinary moment to watch this unfolding every single day.