Russian-affiliated bots have been tweeting articles -- including one recently published on Breitbart.com -- attacking national security adviser H.R. McMaster and pushing the hashtag #FireMcMaster on Twitter, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD).
Multiple outlets have noted that far-right media, Twitter trolls, and fake news purveyors have targeted McMaster for what they consider his betrayal of President Donald Trump’s agenda. As their list of grievances has grown and as McMaster has been labeled a “traitor,” a “Deep State Plant,” and “an Islamist-sympathizer and a globalist,” the hashtag “#FireMcMaster” has gained traction on Twitter. But, crucially, another part of the pro-Trump ecosystem is also partially responsible for the seeming popularity of the anti-McMaster social media crusade; according to ASD, which tracks 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations, Russian bots and trolls have promoted articles smearing the U.S. national security adviser and calling for his ouster.
These Russian-affiliated bots have also promoted at least one attack on those reporting on the social media campaign to oust McMaster. After Media Matters documented the pro-Trump ecosystem’s efforts to target McMaster for allowing former national security adviser Susan Rice to keep her security clearance (a common practice), Breitbart seemed to suggest a connection between McMaster and liberal entities. Breitbart was previously run by McMaster foe and current White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and has previously written negatively about McMaster. According to ASD’s tracker tool, the recent Breitbart article was pushed by Russian-connected bots.