Trump campaign aide Rick Gates reportedly asked Israeli intel firm in 2016 to draft plans for social media influence campaign

  • One proposal from Psy-Group included using fake profiles to attack Senator Ted Cruz, a main opponent of Trump's during the Republican primary, and influence 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
  • Robert Mueller and his team of investigators have obtained these proposals and have questioned Psy-Group employees, according to The New York Times.
  • There is no evidence that the Trump campaign accepted and acted on the proposals, nor is there evidence that this is connected to Russia's interference.
Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates leaves Federal Court on December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates leaves Federal Court on December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Rick Gates, a Trump campaign official, requested proposals from an Israeli company to create fake online profiles and gather intelligence against Republican opponents and Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to The New York Times.

Psy-Group, a company staffed primarily by former Israeli intelligence officers, proposed using fake online profiles to attack Senator Ted Cruz, a main opponent of Trump's during the Republican primary, and influence 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Another proposal offered opposition research about Hillary Clinton and people close to her. A third proposal describes a long-term plan to use social media to expose divides in rival campaigns.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating whether or not Trump conspired with Russia during the election, and his team of investigators have obtained these proposals and have questioned Psy-Group employees, according to The New York Times.

There is no evidence that the Trump campaign accepted and acted on the proposals, nor is there evidence that this is connected to Russia's interference. Psy-Group owner Joel Zamel did meet Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, in August 2016, according to the Times.

Gates and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, were indicted by the special counsel last year on charges of fraud and tax evasion. Gates pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel's probe. He went on to testify against Manafort, who was found guilty of tax and bank fraud.

Read the the full New York Times article