Rick Gates Requested Proposals From an Israeli Firm to Manipulate the 2016 Election

October 9, 2018, 3:01 PM UTC

Rick Gates, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, reportedly “requested proposals” from an Israeli company in 2016 to create fake online identities to help then-candidate Trump’s campaign.

The company, Psy-Group, put forward at least three proposals, reports The New York Times, each of which suggested using “social media manipulation” and intelligence to help Trump beat both the other Republican candidates in the primary, and eventually candidate Hillary Clinton as well.

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. Nevertheless, the Times found no evidence that the Trump campaign ultimately accepted and employed the services of Psy-Group. However, the owner of Psy-Group, Joel Zamel, did meet with Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016.

Gates was indicted along with Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort last year on charges of fraud and tax evasion as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Psy-Group’s proposals appear to be unconnected to Russia’s role in the election. Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and conspiracy against the U.S.