A secret FBI informant who has come into the spotlight in recent days reportedly met with three advisers to President Trump Donald John TrumpLighthizer says NAFTA countries are 'nowhere' near reaching a deal White House aide taped meetings with Trump to impress friends: report FBI working to soften potential blow if top-secret informant exposed: report MORE 's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The Washington Post reported Friday that in addition to meeting with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos George Demetrios PapadopoulosFBI working to soften potential blow if top-secret informant exposed: report The Memo: Trump team stokes fight over Mueller The Hill's Morning Report: Mueller probe hits one-year mark MORE and Carter Page, the informant – described as an American academic – also met with former Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis.
The informant, a professor who is said to be a longtime U.S. intelligence source, met Clovis for coffee in northern Virginia in the summer of 2016, during which he offered to provide foreign policy advice to the campaign, the Post reported.
The New York Times had previously reported on Wednesday that the informant approached Papadopoulos and Page.
The role of the informant in the origins of the FBI investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has given rise to claims by some GOP lawmakers and Trump allies in recent days that the Obama administration planted a "mole" within the Trump campaign to dig up dirt on the businessman and his associates.
There is no evidence that the FBI dispatched the informant to infiltrate the Trump campaign, the Times reported Friday.
The use of informants is relatively common, and is typically used before other methods of intelligence gathering, like electronic surveillance.
But exactly how the informant became involved in the Russia investigation and how much information he provided to the FBI remains unclear.
The focus on the informant's role by some conservatives and allies of Trump has reportedly sparked concern at the FBI, where officials have sought in recent weeks to mitigate the potential damage if the source's identity is exposed.
The Times reported Friday that the source, whom it described as an academic who has worked in Britain, is well known in Washington circles and has acted as an informant for the CIA for years.
Still, the informant has raised alarm bells for some Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes Devin Gerald NunesThe Hill's Morning Report: Mueller probe hits one-year mark Divisions deepen as Mueller probe hits one year Schumer: Senate probe intended to let Trump 'peek' at potential evidence MORE (R-Calif.), who earlier this month subpoenaed the Justice Department for documents related to the source.
The Justice Department declined to provide the records out of concern that it could endanger the informant and his associates.
Trump himself has also seized on reports that the informant met with campaign advisers, suggesting on Thursday that the Obama administration had improperly spied on his campaign, and that, if so, it could end up being "bigger than Watergate."