White House Briefing with Sarah Sanders/LIVE
CNN
White House Briefing with Sarah Sanders/LIVE
Now playing
00:56
WH: Trump believes Mueller probe is a witch hunt
Now playing
02:34
Was Kavanaugh picked to block Mueller probe?
Raskin & Raskin
Now playing
02:45
Trump lawyers quietly driving talks with Mueller
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would fortify the high court's conservative majority, and spotlight the rightward march of the federal judiciary under Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would fortify the high court's conservative majority, and spotlight the rightward march of the federal judiciary under Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Now playing
01:02
The man who oversees Mueller's investigation
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:06
ABC: Cohen has done interviews with Mueller
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivers remarks on "Justice Department Views on Corporate Accountability" during the The Annual Conference for Compliance and Risk Professionals at the Mayflower Hotel May 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivers remarks on "Justice Department Views on Corporate Accountability" during the The Annual Conference for Compliance and Risk Professionals at the Mayflower Hotel May 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
05:41
Rosenstein: 12 Russians charged with hacking
CNN
Now playing
00:48
Trump: I believe Manafort will tell the truth at plea deal
Trump interview with NBC's Lester Holt. May 11 2017
NBC
Trump interview with NBC's Lester Holt. May 11 2017
Now playing
01:12
Sekulow: NBC edited Trump interview on Comey
CNN
Now playing
02:04
Starr: Mueller is getting closer to the truth
NBC
Now playing
01:30
Giuliani: Truth isn't truth
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:27
Trump attacks NYT report in morning tweet
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Now playing
02:27
NYT: WH counsel cooperating with Mueller probe
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21:  Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:07
The Mueller investigation: Who could be next?
Now playing
02:20
Davis describes facing Mueller grand jury
CNN
Now playing
01:36
Analyst: Giuliani doing great harm to Trump
CNN
Now playing
02:00
Roger Stone: I'll never testify against Trump

Editor’s Note: Josh Campbell is a CNN law enforcement analyst, providing insight on national security, crime and justice issues. He previously served as a supervisory special agent with the FBI, conducting national security and criminal investigations, and as special assistant to the FBI director. Follow him on Twitter at @joshscampbell. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) —  

Somewhere in Moscow, an award ceremony no doubt recently took place honoring the group responsible for pulling off one of the greatest feats in spy history.

These intelligence officers somehow managed to launch a foreign influence operation that continues to pay dividends long after being publicly blown. Their success is largely due to a combination of cunning and divisiveness on the part of American officials.

Perhaps unwittingly, the ongoing attacks by President Donald Trump and his allies against special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI have fed Russian efforts to further divide our nation and undermine faith in our national institutions.

By now, we have all become aware of the Russian active measures campaign to sow discord in the United States during the 2016 election season. The operation included publicizing emails stolen from the Democratic Party by cyberintruders in order to hurt Hillary Clinton, dividing American society by using social media platforms to whip up manufactured outrage and potentially targeting the Trump campaign for possible exploitation.

Any one of these offensive operations should have provided cause enough for citizens of all political stripes to rally together and unite against a hostile foreign adversary seeking to undermine American democracy. Taken together, they illustrate a clear and present danger that will no doubt persist for the foreseeable future.

In the minds of some leaders in Russia, a nation in decline that has fallen victim to a downward economic spiral and continuing degradation of political freedoms, a vibrant and successful United States poses an existential threat. Still smarting from the loss of territory following the collapse of the USSR, a prosperous Russia – in their view – is one that can somehow restore the relative power once enjoyed in the days of the Soviet Union.

A strong America, with its penchant for defending freedom and democratic systems of governance, stands squarely in the way of this goal. Unable to mount a successful campaign on the battlefield, Russia instead opted for asymmetric warfare in order to cause political chaos here at home and distract us from our vital role on the global stage. The Kremlin denies any such interference, with President Vladimir Putin calling it “complete nonsense,” but the leaders of the US intelligence community strongly believe the opposite is true.

The reason the 2016 Russian active measures operation remains successful to this day, even after public exposure, is partly due to the fact that intense partisan polarization in this country has caused our once-civil political discourse to devolve into mudslinging. Entrenched partisans now see the other “side” as the enemy, robbing us of both the time and the space to collectively focus on the greater threat from abroad.

An equally malevolent factor aiding Russia is the political fratricide being inflicted on American law enforcement by our own officials. In an effort to defend against allegations of collusion, the White House has turned its sights on the American justice system, with the President claiming himself the target of a “witch hunt” and alleging, without evidence, that he was the victim of illegal electronic surveillance and human spying by our intelligence community.

The White House has been aided by a coterie of consiglieres, like Congressman Devin Nunes (R-California), who have astonishingly accused the FBI of lying to federal judges in obtaining electronic surveillance warrants, and the President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who compared FBI agents executing lawful court-ordered investigative activity to German stormtroopers. These efforts have been allowed to persist by a weak Justice Department unable or unwilling to forcefully stand up to the bullies and defend the integrity of the career agents and prosecutors doing the investigating.

Long adversaries of the FBI and CIA, Russian intelligence services could not have predicted that the most damaging actions taken against American intelligence services would come from within the US government.

To be sure, the FBI has many questions to answer about its work during 2016 presidential campaign, particularly those involving candidate Hillary Clinton. An independent assessment of the FBI’s actions will soon be released in a report from the Department of Justice’s inspector general. But efforts by conspiracy-peddling partisans to conflate the Clinton and Trump investigations are knowingly disingenuous.

Get our free weekly newsletter

Many former intelligence and law enforcement officials like myself have called these attacks what they are: blatant attempts by politicians in survival mode to undermine the credibility of American law enforcement in order to refute the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation in the court of public opinion.

I’ll leave it to the political experts to determine the utility of such a campaign and whether it is succeeding in achieving its desired political goals. But one thing is certain: These efforts play directly into the hands of the Russian government and will only make our country less safe.

The campaign to discredit our law enforcement and intelligence agencies may serve narrow political purposes by convincing parts of the electorate that the President and his allies are victims of a fictitious, out-of-control national security “Deep State,” but it is not grounded in fact. The more polarized our country remains, the longer the backslapping in Moscow will continue. For the Kremlin, our division is the gift that keeps on giving.