The special counsel’s probe looks into ties between an Israeli social media expert and an adviser to UAE leaders, The New York Times reports
By Amir Tibon | 19 May 19 2018
HAARETZ — The investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into foreign interference in the 2016 U.S. elections has included interviews and the questioning of witnesses in Israel, which focused on the work of a local company specializing in “social media manipulation,” The New York Times reported Saturday.
According to the report, Mueller’s team is looking into contacts between Joel Zamel, an Israeli social media expert, and George Nader, a special adviser to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, who allegedly offered to help Trump defeat his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Nader’s name has come up in a number of previous reports about Mueller’s investigation, mostly regarding his work on behalf of the UAE and the ties between the Emirates and Trump. This is the first time, however, that it has been directly reported that interviews related to the Mueller investigation were held in Israel.
The report, citing four sources, said that a company linked to Zamel, Psy-Group, was working on an online manipulation campaign that involved usage thousands of fake social media accounts to help Trump get elected. According to the report, Zamel himself was questioned by Mueller’s investigators and at least two FBI agents were sent to Israel to interview the company’s employees. Mueller’s team also worked with the Israel Police to seize computers of one of Zamel’s firms. The New York Times notes that there were concerns inside the company about the plan’s legality, since U.S. law prohibits non-Americans from being involved in the election. […]