Former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates reportedly consulted with Israeli intelligence firm Psy-Group in 2016 to create fake identities online in order to manipulate voters and defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
One campaign would have collected information about delegates to the convention and used fake online profiles to bombard them with messaging that described Cruz's "ulterior motives or hidden plans", or appeared to come from Cruz supporters, in an effort to discredit him and persuade them to support Trump's nomination. "Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump's main opponent at the time", according to the outlet.
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating those Russian efforts, as well as possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow. A second proposal involved collecting opposition and "complementary intelligence activities" on Hillary Clinton, according to the Times.
In the document, Trump was code-named "Lion" and Clinton was "Forest".
In August 2016, Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with Psy-Group's owner Joel Zamel.
In February, Gates pledged to cooperate with Mueller as he pleaded guilty to defrauding the U.S. by failing to report offshore banking accounts, as well as to one count of lying over his work as a foreign agent for Ukraine.
The special counsel's office indicted Manafort and Gates previous year on multiple charges of financial fraud and tax evasion.
Zamel's lawyer tells the Times that the Trump Tower meeting was cursory.
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.
The Psy-Group proposals would have cost over $3.4 million, according to the documents obtained by The Times. A lawyer for Zamel said that Zamel had not personally discussed specific proposals with Donald Trump Jr. or anyone else from the Trump campaign.
At the meeting, Birnbaum recalls that Gates was interested in using social media manipulation and influence to sway Republican delegates away from primary challenger Cruz.