The FBI dispatched an informant to speak with at least two advisers to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign after the bureau obtained evidence that the aides had ties to Russia, according to multiple reports Friday.
Citing individuals familiar with the matter, The New York Times reported on Friday the informant interacted with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. The newspaper said it has uncovered the identity of the informant, who it described as “an American academic who teaches in Britain,” but noted that it “typically does not name informants to preserve their safety.”
The Washington Post reported the source met with Sam Clovis, the Trump campaign’s co-chairman, to talk about relations with China, in addition to Page and Papadopoulos. Clovis’ attorney told the Post Russia never came up in their conversation.
CNN has previously reported that a confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the Trump campaign to provide information to investigators, according to US officials, despite the President’s suggestion in recent days that an FBI informant was embedded in his campaign.
“Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” Trump tweeted on Friday.
The Times reported there is no evidence that the informant “acted improperly” or that “agents veered from the F.B.I.’s investigative guidelines and began a politically motivated inquiry, which would be illegal.”
It is unclear how long the bureau has had a relationship with the source and whether the person was paid by the FBI, according to the Times.
Citing one individual familiar with the case, the Times reported the source has served in past Republican administrations and has previously provided information to the CIA as well.
The newspaper reported that during one interaction, the source asked Papadopoulos if he knew anything about Russian efforts to meddle in the presidential election. But according to an individual familiar with the conversation, Papadopoulos “replied that he had no insight into the Russian campaign.”
The Times further reported that Page said he first came into contact with the informant at a conference in the summer of 2016 and later met the source on a few additional occasions. Page told the Times the encounters “were benign.”
According to the Times, the informant has also had prior interactions with Michael Flynn, the President’s former national security adviser.
Flynn plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI last year and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Papadopoulos has also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI.
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Jim Sciutto, Laura Jarrett and Manu Raju contributed to this report.