Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign adviser who pleaded guilty earlier this year to two charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, solicited plans from an Israeli company to employ social media manipulation to defeat election rivals, according to a report Monday.
Gates requested a plan in 2016 from Psy-Group — a company that included staff who previously worked as Israeli intelligence operatives — to use artificial social media profiles to influence 5,000 Republican National Convention delegates by criticizing Trump then-opponent in the Republican primary, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Another plan Gates requested called for opposition research and “complimentary intelligence activities” on Hillary Clinton, who was Trump’s Democratic challenger in the general election, and those in her circle, the New York Times reports.
Similarly, an additional plan outlined ways to assist Trump by employing social media to stir up division between political rivals.
However, there is no evidence to suggest the Trump campaign used the proposals, and Gates became indifferent to the company’s plans after campaign aides constructed their own social media strategies.
Gates pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the U.S. and one count of lying to the FBI as part of charges brought against him by Mueller. Mueller's team is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin.