Gates sought proposals from Israeli firm on creating fake online identities to influence 2016 voters


Former Trump Campaign Deputy Chairman Rick Gates sought proposals from an Israeli company on how to build online fake identities and influence voters on social media to aid the campaign.

The company, Psy-Group, was also asked for a pitch on how to gather intelligence on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her associates, the New York Times reported, in an effort dubbed Project Rome. Gates has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the U.S. as well as making false statements and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian probe.

One of the documents obtained by the Times proposed creating, cultivating and operating “numerous online/virtual platforms and ‘avatars’…to deliver the required messaging” to positively reinforce Trump’s strengths while highlighting the weaknesses of his opponents.

Gates, who over the summer testified against his once business partner Paul Manafort, the campaign’s former chairman, wanted to use the fake identities to attack Trump primary opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in an effort to influence 5,000 2016 Republican National Convention delegates.

Joel Zamel, who owns Psy-Group, met in August before the election with the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr. But, the Times said, there is no evidence that any of the proposals were ever put into practice.

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