Before Donald Trump locked up the GOP nomination in 2016, Rick Gates, the one-time deputy to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, reached out to Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group and asked for proposals for running an online disinformation campaign, according to the New York Times.
It's unclear whether Gates, who pleaded guilty to two charges in Robert Mueller's special counsel probe into Russian meddling, acted on the proposals.
Psy-Group created several secretive proposals for the Trump campaign at the behest of Rick Gates, who has since pleaded guilty and offered to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into foreign meddling in the U.S. election, The New York Times reported.
Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates.
There was no evidence that the Trump campaign followed through on the proposals to use social media manipulation and intelligence gathering.
Another goal was to convert Cruz supporters into Trump supporters because Trump's team feared the Texas senator would lead a revolt over the Republican presidential nomination.
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A third proposal by Psy-Group outlined a plan to use social media to expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions, the Times reports.
Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion.
The proposal to gather intelligence on Clinton suggests "intensive, deep open source opposition research on target "Forest" and her 10 closest associates".
With that said, in August of 2016, just three months before the general election, Donald Trump Jr. met with the owner of Psy-Group, Joel Zamel, and shortly after the election Zamel received $2 million from George Nader, a senior adviser to the government of the United Arab Emirates.
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. What makes things even more suspicious is that Nader also met with Donald Trump Jr.in August 2016 at Trump Tower to offer his assistance to the campaign.