Court documents revealed on Monday by the Justice Department indicate that special counsel Jack Smith successfully gained access to individuals who liked, retweeted, or mentioned Donald Trump on Twitter, now identified as X.
This search warrant, issued in January by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is a component of Smith’s investigation into Trump’s actions leading up to the Capitol incursion on January 6, 2021.
The release of these documents followed a lawsuit initiated by a consortium of media organizations seeking transparency in the special counsel’s inquiry into Trump, as reported by the New York Post.
While many of the documents, including 8 out of 14 pages of the search warrant, are heavily redacted, one page revealed that Smith demanded access to all information from the ‘Connect’ or ‘Notifications’ tab for Trump’s account, encompassing lists of users who liked or retweeted tweets, as well as tweets mentioning the account.
The Justice Department also sought information on users Trump followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked, along with details on users who engaged in similar actions towards his account.
Eric Matheny, a conservative podcaster and attorney, emphasized the intrusive nature of the warrant, stating, “If you liked or retweeted Trump’s tweets – the DOJ wants to know.”
The New York Post reported that Twitter initially resisted providing the data, citing a violation of First Amendment rights and the Stored Communications Act. However, a federal judge sided with Smith and imposed a $350,000 fine on Twitter for contempt of court. In July, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the ruling.
The court filing from Smith opposing the notification of Trump about the Twitter search warrant was also released on Monday, heavily redacted. Smith argued that notifying Trump, a sophisticated actor with a broad platform, could result in statutorily cognizable harm, claiming that such notification might lead to evidence tampering, witness intimidation, or other serious threats to the investigation.
In August, Smith filed a four-count indictment against Trump related to the 2021 Capitol incursion and alleged interference in the 2020 election.