Russian Twitter Bot Targeted Maxine Waters, A Prominent Trump Impeachment Backer:

Russian Twitter Bot Targeted Maxine Waters, A Prominent Trump Impeachment Backer:


The infamous @TEN_GOP account went after the California Democrat well after the 2016 election had ended.

A prominent Democratic congresswoman who has been a vocal proponent of Donald Trump’s impeachment says she was the target of a Russian-bot Twitter campaign that encouraged her own removal from office.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) wrote Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday requesting information on the “total number of accounts linked to Russia that ever mentioned” her name, as well as the number of times those tweets were retweeted. In her letter, Waters reveals that the now-notorious Russian-bot account, @TEN_GOP, ginned up attacks against her after Trump’s elections, and did so—she alleges—with apparent knowledge of a town hall she was holding inside her district.

“The account advanced exaggerated and false stories about my home and my constituents, and was instrumental in promoting #ImpeachMaxineWaters, a hashtag it helped trend on Twitter during one of my town hall meetings earlier this year,” Waters wrote. “While I have suspected for some time that I was the target of Russian operatives aligned with Donald Trump, it is most disturbing that the Russian Twitter account was able to coordinate its efforts with people on the ground in Los Angeles, who produced large and elaborate “Impeach Maxine Waters” posters that coincided with the namesake hashtag the Russian account promoted on Twitter.”

In her letter to Dorsey, Waters provides screen shots of instances in which she was targeted by @TEN_GOP, including in the lead up to a town hall she hosted on May 17, 2017—further evidence that Russian bots were not just content to play in the 2016 campaign but also were targeting Trump critics after he assumed office.

But while Waters says the account “was able to coordinate” with individuals on the ground in her district, there is no concrete evidence to back up that claim. Numerous individuals took cues from and RT’ed the account without apparent knowledge that it was a Russian bot.

As The Daily Beast previously confirmed, @Ten_GOP was a prominent troll account purporting to be the “unofficial Twitter account of the Tennessee Republicans”—but was really operated out of the Kremlin-funded “troll farm” in St. Petersburg.

@Ten_GOP was tweeted by prominent figures in the Trump campaign, including campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, digital director Brad Parscale, and Donald Trump Jr., in the days before the 2016 election. The account frequently pushed hashtags for movements it hoped would trend on Twitter, and was frequently successful.



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