Special counsel Robert Mueller may be pulling on another thread in relation to foreign influence on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
According to The Wall Street Journal, his team of investigators have obtained a nine-slide presentation created by the Israeli firm, Psy-Group, which claims to have links to Israeli intelligence agencies.
It is unclear, according to the Journal’s reporting, who received the presentation and whether it is based on analysis of specific activity during the campaign or more of a hypothetical pitch. Mueller is also reportedly examining Psy-Group’s founder Joel Zamel, who is believed to have attended a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in the weeks prior to election day.
The documents, also obtained by the Journal, include details about creating fake social media accounts and fake news sites. In one of the slides, entitled “Trump Campaign Components,” there is a 2016 timeline and references to establishing “fake news sites/avatars/content” in the first few months of the year. Through May and July on the timeline, the document suggests that this would be “discrediting news/spreading uncertainty & fake content” by the summer. The final part, leading up to election day, entailed “using fake bots to react to real life situations & further polarize the TA” (target audience).
Another slide, called “Fake News Sites Facebook Strategy,” purports that there were “over 140 pro-Trump websites owned by the same man in Veles, Macedonia.” The slide also says that Facebook avatars would be “spreading this news.”
In an additional slide, “Facebook Strategy,” there are three steps outlined. The first is “Avatar seeding in relevant groups,” the second is “Real people sharing/engaging” and the final one is a “Multiplier effect with mass people spreading lies.” There is a screenshot underneath of a Facebook account writing “#crooked_hillary would totally destroy Middle East further.”
The Daily Beast has reported extensive use of Facebook from Russian accounts to incite voters to attend political events throughout the campaign. Additionally, Mueller previously indicted the Internet Research Agency, a massive troll farm backed by the Kremlin.