Trump Campaign Aide Tied to Manafort Requested Foreign Proposal for Social Media Manipulation: Report

Trump Campaign Aide Tied to Manafort Requested Foreign Proposal for Social Media Manipulation: Report

Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of Paul Manafort and served as the now-convicted felon's deputy for the Trump 2016 campaign, requested proposals for social media manipulation from an Israeli firm, The New York Times reports Monday afternoon. The proposal requests included the creation of fake online identities and gathering intelligence to help Donald Trump defeat his Republican opponents and ultimately Hillary Clinton.

One proposal request included using "bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time," the Times reports.

The Israeli company, Psy-Group, "is staffed by former Israeli intelligence operatives," The Times says. Its owner, Joel Zamel, met with Donald Trump Jr. in August of 2016.

That meeting, revealed in May by The Times, was also attended by George Nader, an emissary from the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and by Erik Prince, a Republican donor and the founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.

Prince is also the brother of Betsy DeVos, who went on to become Trump's controversial Education Secretary.

The Times describes to work as "a broad effort to sow disinformation among Republican delegates and general election voters."

The proposal to gather information about Mrs. Clinton and her aides has elements of traditional opposition research, but it also contains cryptic language that suggests using clandestine means to build “intelligence dossiers.”

The Time adds there is "no evidence that the Trump campaign acted on the proposals. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has obtained copies of them.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.