Senior FBI officials briefed Donald Trump last year that Russian operatives would try to infiltrate his campaign, according to a new report from NBC News.
The briefings were given both to Trump and Hillary Clinton in the weeks after July 19, 2016, when Trump was officially selected the Republican party’s nominee for president.
The briefings were led by counterintelligence specialists from the FBI, the sources said. They were timed to occur around the period when the candidates began receiving classified intelligence, the officials said, which put them at greater risk for being targeted by foreign spies. Trump’s first intelligence briefing as Republican nominee was Aug. 17, 2016, sources told NBC News at the time.
Two former law enforcement officials familiar with the briefings said that Trump was “briefed and warned” about Russian espionage threats.
The White House has maintained that Trump was unaware of any contacts between members of his campaign and Russians.
A White House spokesman downplayed the significance of the briefing.
“That the Republican and Democrat nominee for President received a standardized briefing on counter-intelligence is hardly a news story,” Raj Shah told NBC News. “That NBC News hears about the contents of this classified conversation due to an inappropriate leak is a news story.”