No, Russia didn't work to elect Trump -- It works to divide Americans, with the help of Democrats

It’s true that the Russians are meddling in U.S. politics – they have been since the Cold War. This is important to remember as we examine the current furor over our last presidential election and the ongoing use by Russians of social media to stir the pot.

Sadly, the Democrats and the #Resistance are falling for the ploy of the Russians and helping their cause. Russian propaganda efforts are highly effective and they have been working exactly as planned.

Yes, the Russians tried to discredit Hillary Clinton by attacking her many glaring weaknesses. But the idea that they intended to help Donald Trump become president and then use him as their puppet is almost comical to anyone familiar with their actual methods and strategy.

The Russians are not deluded enough to believe they can control a U.S. president, so their actual goal is to sow discord and create infighting among the American people. They have certainly succeed in accomplishing this mission.

The deluge of news stories and attention focused on supposed collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians grew out of the need by Hillary Clinton and her supporters to have an excuse for losing – blame it all on those nasty, meddling Russians!

Pinning the blame on the Russians actually played right into their hands. First, it inflated their influence well beyond reality. Second, it began to weaken President Trump before he even took office.

The Russians were actually playing against the efforts of both candidates and against America and our electoral process overall. The more divided Americans are against each other, the happier the Russians are.

And the divisions continue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Adam Schiff, another California Democrat, have taken the bait a second time by calling for an investigation Tuesday into Russian bots promoting the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo.

This #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag started as an organic effort on Twitter to get Congress to release the memo written by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., about allegations of malfeasance by the FBI in using foreign intelligence sources to spy on the Trump campaign.

Seeing an opportunity, the Russians released the bots to muddy the waters. And lo and behold, it worked. The gullible Pelosi and Schiff – to all of our disadvantage – turned an uprising of Americans demanding accountability for dirty tricks by the Democrats into a supposed Kremlin dirty trick.

The terms for such actors in the Cold War days – when the Soviet Union was openly working against us –were “Fellow Traveler” or “Useful Idiots.” I’ll give these two the benefit of the doubt and assume they aren’t actively supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin, so that makes them useful idiots.

But the damage that Democrats and others pushing the “Russia, Russia, Russia” narrative have caused is as real as the charges are false. The Russians aren’t supporting President Trump. They are weakening America and infecting our public discourse and body politic. The efforts by the left to tie this to President Trump and his campaign have contributed to Russian success.

A study at the University of Washington, notably not a hotbed of Trump support, looked at the actions of Russian bots on social media. The study found equal efforts against the right and the left to foment misinformation, generate arguments and generally cause problems.

It is good for us as American citizens and certainly for our government to be aware of these efforts by the Russians, Chinese and others. It is unhelpful to spread the unfair and inaccurate idea that the Trump administration supports or benefits from them. None of us do, and that is why those on the left should stop helping the Russians in their pursuit of harming and weakening the United States.

Jim Hanson is President of Security Studies Group and served in US Army Special Forces.