The unnamed FBI informant who President Trump and his Republican allies have suggested was part of an effort to “frame” him during his campaign made contact with several of his aides only after they’d already had suspicious Russia-related contacts, The New York Times reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The informant’s identity has been at the center of an escalating battle between the FBI and Justice Department, on the one hand, and Trump’s Republican allies, on the other, who claim the informant was wrongfully implanted in Trump’s campaign. The informant is said to have reached out to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos only after the FBI received information he’d spoken of Moscow having “thousands of emails” that would compromise Hillary Clinton. Identified only as an American academic who teaches in Britain and has provided information to U.S. intelligence agencies in the past, the informant reportedly commissioned Papadopoulos to write a research paper and tried to suss him out on any Trump-Russia links during a meeting in London. He also reportedly made contact with former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump aide Carter Page, who told the Times their interactions were benign.