Disgraced former Trump campaign official Rick Gates solicited proposals from an Israeli psychological-operations firm to manipulate social media in Trump's favor and gather intelligence on Trump's opponents during the 2016 election season.
The proposals varied from using fake people to sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention, to building intelligence dossiers on Clinton and using social media to exacerbate divisions amongst the American public.
NYT said there is no evidence that the Trump campaign followed through on the proposals to use social media manipulation and intelligence gathering. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump's main opponent at the time.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating those Russian efforts, as well as possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. Donald Trump was known as "Lion" Cruz was "Bear" and Clinton was referred to as "Forest".
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While Gates ultimately rejected the proposals, according to the Monday report, Psy-Group head Joel Zamel apparently outlined the idea to Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.at a August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Another proposal described opposition research and "complementary intelligence activities" about Clinton, according to the report.
Gates, the longtime business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, earlier this year pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. Gates had joined the Trump campaign days earlier with Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner, to try to prevent a revolt of Republican delegates from Trump toward Cruz.
Zamel and George Nader, an emissary from the United Arab Emirates who was at the meeting with Trump Jr., gave different accounts as to whether Zamel ever implemented his proposal. Psy-Group came up with several proposals, which it dubbed "Project Rome". Gates pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel's probe. A lawyer for Zamel said that Zamel had not personally discussed specific proposals with Donald Trump Jr. or anyone else from the Trump campaign.
Zamel's lawyer tells the Times that the Trump Tower meeting was cursory.