The former campaign chairman and Trump son Donald Trump Jr., who was charged last week with conspiracy, has been accused of creating an ad that helped a Russian government-backed group buy fake news and spread it to the public.
The ad is the second such bot to be linked to the Russian government.
A third was created by the Democratic National Committee to discredit Republican candidate and former White House candidate Paul Ryan.
The New York Times reported Friday that the ad was produced by an unnamed “snowflake” bot.
The Washington Post and The Washington Times reported Monday that the bot was created in February by a person identified only as “Vladimir” to promote a video from the anti-Trump Russia-aligned news site Sputnik News, according to the FBI and the Russian Embassy.
The ads were sent out to people in the United States who had “an affinity for the Russia-related narrative” and used “fake news and conspiracy theories as a way to spread the disinformation and incite violence,” according to a statement by the FBI, which declined to elaborate on the nature of the ads.
“The Russian government uses disinformation and misinformation campaigns to influence public opinion and undermine the credibility of the United Nations and the international community,” the FBI said in the statement.
The bot was used in two different campaigns, one to promote an article about the Ukrainian coup and another to promote conspiracy theories.
“Both of these bots are intended to be used to spread information, but in different ways,” the statement continued.
The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, told The Associated Press in an email that the campaign manager was a paid contractor of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that the Russian campaign was “a purely professional operation.”
The Kremlin has denied interfering in the 2016 election, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly dismissed allegations of interference by foreign powers.
Trump’s lawyer said in a statement that he had “no reason to doubt the veracity” of the FBI statement and that his client has “fully cooperated with the ongoing congressional and congressional committees.”
Trump Jr.-linked ads were part of an ad buy campaign in December by a pro-Kremlin nonprofit group called “Friends of Ukraine,” which received funding from the Russian Federation.
The group said the ads were intended to “further the interests of the Ukrainian people.”
A day after the campaign, the Kremlin said it would ban the ads from Russia, according the AP.
The campaign’s Russian government backers denied the allegations.
“I never sent the ads,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told The AP.
“We have never paid for any ads.
We never paid any money.”