After Donald Trump was given the Republican nomination to run for president of the United States, the FBI gave a warning that foreign enemies including Russian hackers would probably infiltrate his campaign efforts. The warning was delivered by senior officials from the federal agency in the form of high-level counterintelligence briefings. Hillary Clinton, the then Democratic candidate, was given similar briefings by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The FBI said that it was normal for presidential nominees to be given such briefings in the course of their campaigns. These briefings are meant to educate presidential candidates and their top strategists and aids about threats that are often posed by foreign adversaries.
The official said that both Clinton and Trump were urged to report any suspicious activities in their campaigns to the FBI. The sources said that the briefings for presidential nominees were led by specialists from FBI’s counterintelligence department. The timing of the presentations was at a time when the nominees began to receive intelligence that was highly classified. At this point, both Trump and Clinton were increasingly vulnerable to targeting from foreign spies. As the Republican presidential candidate, Trump was first briefed on August 17, 2016. Warnings were also issued to Trump’s presidential campaign team about threats of potential Russian espionage. At the time, according to sources, Donald Trump was not aware of any possibility of contact between Russians and his campaign team.
A spokesperson from the White House, Raj Shah, said that the fact that Democrat and Republican presidential nominees receive counterintelligence briefings was not news to any American who follows presidential campaigns. However, Shah asserted that it was never clear whether the warning about Russian espionage to Trumps’ presidential campaign was passed to other officials. The revelation that Trump and his campaign aides were warned about the possible infiltration of Russian spies and reported nothing brings a new insight into a potential relationship between the Russian spies and president Trump.
As a former First Lady, Secretary of State and US Senator, Hillary Clinton was familiar with counterintelligence security briefings. This is because she has held security clearance at the highest levels in the United States. Being on his first political campaign, there is a high possibility that Trump was getting some of this firsthand information for the very first time. It is also likely that by the time that the briefings were happening between July and August lasts a year, Trump’ campaign officials may have been in contact with Russians or people related to Russia.