(October 9, 2018 / JNS) Former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates reportedly consulted with Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group in 2016 to create fake identities online in order to manipulate voters and defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times first reported this development, citing interviews and proposal copies.
Gates “sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time,” according to the outlet. “Another proposal describes opposition research and ‘complementary intelligence activities’ about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her.”
However, there is no evidence Gates implemented any of the Psy-Group ideas, which Gates initially heard about during a March 2016 meeting with Republican consultant George Birnbaum, who has close ties to Israeli intelligence officials.
“He was interested in finding the technology to achieve what they were looking for,” Birnbaum told the Times.
The Israeli company is of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
As part of the Mueller probe, Gates pled guilty last year to charges of conspiracy against the United States and making false statements, related to the work his former boss and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort did in Ukraine. He faces a possible six years in prison, though the plea deal he agreed to with the special counsel could reduce the sentence.