Trump adviser sought Israeli intelligence firm for dirty tricks

Trump adviser sought Israeli intelligence firm for dirty tricks

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.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., addresses the delegates during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. The contacts between Gates and the Israeli company were first reported on Tuesday by the New York Times.

This, despite the fact that The New York Times' report explicitly states there is now no evidence to prove that the Trump campaign retained Psy-Group's services.

The Trump campaign apparently did not express interest in the proposals, and its unclear whether the activities would have fallen afoul of U.S. laws prohibiting foreign interference in elections. And he wanted to use social media to sow division and deepen rifts among the American electorate.

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Then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, October 9, 2016. Its owner, Joel Zamel, met with Donald Trump Jr.in August of 2016. Psy-Group came up with several proposals, which it dubbed "Project Rome".

Mr. Zamel's attorney told The Times the meeting at Trump Tower was just to outline the company's capabilities in "general terms". The meeting also included Blackwater founder Erik Prince and George Nader, the adviser to the UAE Crown Prince and the go-between for Prince's meeting in the Seychelles with a powerful Russian businessman.

Psy-Group claimed that it would provide "all services in accordance with the laws and regulations of the country/ies in which they are conducted". Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has obtained copies of them. "He was not interested and that was the end of it".

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