'He's undermining the American people's faith in the idea of America.'
"There's a Russian term, 'useful idiot,' for an unwilling or willing collaborator to their aims, and the president is a useful idiot," Schmidt said on Wednesday morning's "MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle."
Schmidt pointed out that Trump is "referred to on Russian state media all the time as 'Our president,' meaning Russia's."
"When he attacks the intelligence community, when he attacks the Justice Department, when he attacks and undermines essential institutions, he is doing Vladimir Putin's bidding, his work, for him," Schmidt said.
"He's undermining the American people's faith in the idea of America, the capacity of the American people for self-governance, and the essential institutions that make our country special. And so it's an extraordinary moment to watch this unfolding every day."
On Tuesday, Trump blurted out his wish for friendship with Putin in front of three world leaders from countries that are threatened by Russian aggression — the latest in a long pattern of such embarrassments.
And while America and the world watch Trump bow his head publicly to Putin, they see the stream of indicted Russians and Trump officials. They see the extraordinary and very public ways in which Trump has tried to obstruct investigations into Russia's election meddling, and tried to defend those who participated in the crimes.
Even after Putin ordered a chemical attack on a U.S. ally's soil, the White House was unwilling to label him a "bad actor." When the U.S. responded to the attack under enormous international pressure, Trump was silent.
Since Trump took office, Americans have had to watch this unfold every day while Republicans in Congress have abetted Trump every step of the way. But as Mueller closes in, we come closer to seeing that the idea of America is stronger than Putin or Trump, or anyone else who threatens it.