Rick Gates, a longtime political consultant who once served as President Donald Trump’s deputy campaign chairman, in 2016 sought plans from an Israeli company to use social media digital manipulation and to gather intelligence on primary challengers on Hillary Clinton that would have been used to gain an edge in the presidential election, The New York Times reports.
The proposals from Psy-Group, which is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives, included using fake identities meant to “target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas,” according to the Times.
Psy-Group also proposed using social media to help “expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions.”
The proposal to gather intelligence on Clinton suggests “intensive, deep open source opposition research on target “Forest” and her 10 closest associates.” Psy-Group used code names to identify Cruz and Clinton.
It’s unclear whether Gates, who pleaded guilty to two charges in Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe into Russian meddling, acted on the proposals. Mueller has reportedly seen the plans and has questioned Psy-Group employees, per sources who spoke with the Times.
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