A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals.
The Trump campaign’s interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump. Though the Israeli company’s pitches were narrower than Moscow’s interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump’s favor. — www.nytimes.com/…
The company is called Psy-Ops, and its cropped up before. Its owner, Joel Zalem, pitched the proposal in a meeting at Trump Tower attended by Donald Trump Jr. in August 2016. Erik Prince of Blackwater was there as well.
Mueller’s team has the proposals Zalem made and has discussed them with witnesses. Rick Gates was apparently in the meeting and interested in the proposal. He is, of course, cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
Eventually, the campaign chose not to engage Psy-Ops.
There are a lot of different threads in the story, but this stood out to me.
Mr. Nader and Mr. Zamel have given differing accounts over whether Mr. Zamel ultimately carried out the social media effort to help the Trump campaign and why Mr. Nader paid him $2 million after the election, according to people who have discussed the matter with the two men.
Here’s a theory.
The notoriously tight-fisted Donald Trump wouldn’t pay the asking price for the Psy-Ops operation. Instead, they took the proposal and sent it to their contacts in the Putin regime, who set up the operation for free. Zamel would of course have noticed that someone was assisting the Trump campaign along the lines he’d proposed. It’s quite possible that Nader paid Zamel after the election just to keep him quiet, or as a finder’s fee.
- Just a theory.
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