Donald Trump was warned that Russia and other foreign nations would try to infiltrate his presidential campaign in late summer 2016, after becoming the official GOP nominee, NBC News reported Monday.
Multiple government officials told NBC that both Trump and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton were given routine high-level counterintelligence briefings by senior FBI officials in late July or early August, and were asked to alert the FBI about any suspicious outreach to their campaigns.
The White House dismissed NBC’s report as inconsequential, alleging, as the Trump administration often does, that the leak of information is more important than its content.
“That the Republican and Democrat nominee for President received a standardized briefing on counter-intelligence is hardly a news story,” Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, told NBC. “That NBC News hears about the contents of this classified conversation due to an inappropriate leak is a news story.”
The report said it was unclear if the warning regarding Russia was passed along to other Trump campaign officials.
But no evidence has yet emerged that Trump’s team notified the FBI about various contacts Russians or Kremlin-linked officials had with campaign officials prior to or following the late-summer briefing. Donald Trump Jr., former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and White House adviser Jared Kushner are among those known to have engaged in these meetings.
At the time the FBI issued its warning, the bureau was already aware of some contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that the federal investigation into these communications began in July 2016.