Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe showed President Trump footage of a video that sought to sabotage Hillary Clinton just days after the businessman announced he was running for president, according to a new report.
Trump had previously supported O’Keefe’s work and, just weeks before, had given Project Veritas a $10,000 donation from his foundation. After viewing the video at Trump Tower, Trump pledged to give additional donations, the New York Times reported.
The footage was largely discredited upon its release weeks later. It depicted officials from the Clinton camp supposedly accepting a payment for Clinton campaign merchandise from a Canadian woman. O’Keefe argued this violated election laws that prevented foreigners from contributing to campaigns.
Sam Nunberg, a former adviser to Trump, said the two initially met per Trump’s request in 2013 as Trump was starting to reach out to more conservatives. Nunberg said Trump lauded the videos and noted O’Keefe was a “good-looking guy.”
Trump continued to use other videos from Project Veritas to attack Clinton. For instance, during the third presidential debate against Clinton he referenced a video released by Project Veritas Action, a political branch of Project Veritas, and accused Clinton of paying people to stir up violence at his campaign rallies.
O’Keefe and his group, who are no strangers to controversy, have come under fire lately after a failed undercover operation.
The Washington Post revealed last month that a woman named Jaime Phillips had contacted them, claiming GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnated her when she was 15 years old. The Post became wary when details from her story didn’t match up and she tried to get Post reporters to say Moore would lose the election because of her story.
This effort was part of a larger campaign targeting media outlets in Washington, D.C., and New York, according to interviews, text messages, and now-deleted social media posts, the Post reported last month.
Post reporters eventually saw Phillips walk into Project Veritas headquarters, casting doubt on her motivations for accusing Moore.
O’Keefe told the Times that his motive was not to get the Post to publish an inaccurate story, but instead “to get a meeting, to gain access, to expose their political bias and agenda in that meeting. Nothing more.”