Use of the informant originated under former President Obama's Justice Department and before Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's appointment as special counsel.
The Justice Department plans to hold two classified briefings with select lawmakers Thursday addressing reports that a government informant - from outside the campaign - contacted Trump campaign aides in 2016.
To ease concerns that the meeting was merely a fishing expedition to help Trump discredit the Mueller investigation and defend himself from potential legal jeopardy Sarah Sanders assured reporters on Tuesday that no one from the White House would attend the meeting with Nunes.
The White House confirmed on Wednesday it's planning for a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders, known as the "Gang of 8", to receive a highly classified intelligence briefing on the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling, reversing plans to exclude Democrats altogether.
Trump claimed ex-DNI James Clapper "admitted", the intelligence community "was spying on my campaign", a false statement that twisted Clapper's recent comments about the FBI's actions and the repeat of an unproven claim by the president.
While Yates would not comment on the allegations of spying, deferring comment on the investigation to the Justice Department and FBI, she said she was confident the investigation would bear out the truth. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), calling him a "barometer of mindless conventional wisdom" for saying that a "confidential informant is not a spy".
He would "demand" a Justice Department investigation into whether the department and the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes, he tweeted.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats attended both meetings - the first at the Department of Justice and the second on Capitol Hill.
Trump intensified his attacks Thursday, tweeting that it was "Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history".
It continued: "They also conveyed the president's understanding of the need to protect human intelligence services and the importance of communication between the branches of government".
According to the Times, the FBI used an informant, rather than sending its own agents to do interviews, because it feared a more aggressive approach might lead to leaks that an investigation was underway, which could improperly influence the election.
Among the topics the three men discussed was Vekselberg's desire for better relations between the United States and Russian Federation, the person said, who added that Vekselberg did not encounter Trump or any of his other advisers.
There is no evidence to suggest that the source was inserted into the Trump campaign, as the president has suggested, but the source did seek out and meet Trump campaign advisers.
The White House later said in a statement that Kelly and Flood made brief remarks at the beginning of the meeting to "relay the President's desire for as much openness as possible" and departed before it actually began.
Justice Department officials initially invited only Nunes and committee member Gowdy to review the classified information regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation informant and the agency's purported monitoring of Trump campaign officials.
Meadows said he has nonclassified information - including text messages - that acknowledge the existence of an informant. Trump asked in one tweet.
Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday on CBS that he also hasn't seen evidence that there was an embedded spy in the Trump campaign. As Giuliani has warned before, "What they're really trying to do is trap him into perjury, and we're not suckers".
Trump also repeated his allegation that the FBI's use of informants - a common practice in investigations - amounted to spying on his campaign.