The FBI reportedly warned then-Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE in the months before the election that Russia and other foreign adversaries would probably try to infiltrate his presidential campaign.
Multiple government officials told NBC News that senior FBI officials briefed both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE about the threats, which it said are commonly offered to major party nominees for the White House.
The briefings, the officials told NBC, are used to alert candidates and their teams about such threats. They are generally given around the point at which candidates begin receiving classified information, and campaigns are told to alert any suspicious activity to authorities.
A White House official downplayed the news, saying there was nothing unusual about the briefings.
"That the Republican and Democrat nominee for President received a standardized briefing on counter-intelligence is hardly a news story," White House spokesman Raj Shah told NBC. "That NBC News hears about the contents of this classified conversation due to an inappropriate leak is a news story."
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in last year's presidential election with the goal of hurting Clinton's campaign and helping Trump's.
That has led to numerous congressional probes of the election, and an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that was kickstarted by Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.
Four people have been indicted so far in Mueller’s probe, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russians.
The first briefing by the FBI for Trump officials took place in August 2016, according to NBC. That was about two months after a Russian lawyer met with Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE at Trump Tower prompted by an email promising damaging information about Clinton. Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortYellen should utilize the resources available before pushing new regulations Huawei paid Tony Podesta 0K for White House lobbying FBI agents swarm Russian oligarch's DC home MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerWatchdog finds no money has flowed out of agency tasked by Trump admin to fight pandemic Watchdog cites 13 Trump officials who violated Hatch Act before 2020 election McCain blasts Graham for refuting funeral remark about Kushner, Ivanka Trump MORE, Trump's son-in-law, sat in on the meeting.
Manafort has also been indicted in the Mueller probe.
Other campaign contacts with Russia or Russia-linked groups occurred after the reported briefing, including Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter exchange with WikiLeaks and then-Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThose predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold The metaverse is coming — society should be wary MORE’s (R-Ala.) meeting with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, though it is unclear if any of the Trump officials thought there was anything suspicious about the contacts.