“Of David. Vindicate me, Hashem, for I have walked without blame; I have trusted in Hashem; I have not faltered.” Psalms 26:1 (The Israel Bible™)
The U.S. Department of Justice released on Thursday the highly anticipated report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to interfere the 2016 election despite Moscow’s attempt to influence it.
Two Israel-related matters were mentioned in the report, which have previously been reported in the press:
- Led by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Trump transition team attempted to persuade foreign governments, with then-incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn talking to Russia, to oppose the December 2016 U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, condemning Israeli neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria. The resolution passed as the United States did not exercise its automatic veto power and instead abstained.
- While George Papadopoulos, who was a foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, had ties to Israel, the special counsel “ultimately determined that the evidence was not sufficient to obtain or sustain a conviction” that he “committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government” in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires those lobbying on behalf of foreign governments to disclose such activity with the Justice Department.
Not mentioned in the report is that 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.
The company was reportedly of interest to Mueller.
Gates “sought one proposal to use bogus personas to target and sway 5,000 delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mr. Trump’s main opponent at the time,” according to The New York Times, which first reported the story, citing interviews and proposal copies. “Another proposal describes opposition research and ‘complementary intelligence activities’ about Mrs. Clinton and people close to her.”
However, there is no evidence Gates implemented any of the Psy-Group ideas, which Gates initially heard about during a March 2016 meeting with Republican consultant George Birnbaum, who has close ties to Israeli intelligence officials. Birnbaum was not named in Thursday’s report.
As part of the Mueller probe, Gates pleaded guilty in 2017 to charges of conspiracy against the United States and making false statements, related to the work his former boss and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort did in Ukraine.