Our credibility is shredding in front of us, former NATO commander says

Fmr. NATO commander: Our credibility is shredding in front of us

As hearings and investigations into allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election unfold, one clear winner appears to be emerging — Russian President Vladimir Putin, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis told CNBC on Monday.

During an extraordinary hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time that the agency is investigating Russia's influence on the 2016 presidential election, including any links between Moscow and Trump campaign officials.

"Mr. Putin is going right down the game plan that started with the interference in the elections and undermining the U.S. globally because at the end of the day, deterrence — which equals peace — is composed of two things: capability, we've got a great military; the other is credibility. Our credibility is shredding in front of us," Stavridis said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

The U.S. intelligence community has accused Moscow of trying to influence the election, saying it initially wanted to derail then-candidate Hillary Clinton and then developed a preference for President Donald Trump.

However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that the House hearing did not show any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Stavridis, dean of Tufts University's Fletcher School, said Putin's main goal is to appear strong and powerful within Russia.

"Russia is not going to attack the United States. They're not going to blow a U.S. aircraft out of the air. But I think over time what they're going to try to do is crack the NATO alliance," he said.

And he thinks Putin is making progress on that front, as evidenced by the "very, very lukewarm" visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House last week.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.