by WorldTribune Staff, November 29, 2023
Special prosecutor Jack Smith demanded Twitter cough up information on all individuals who “favorited or retweeted” President Donald Trump’s tweets while he was still using the platform, according to heavily redacted documents released on Monday.
A court acting on Smith’s request for a search warrant ordered Twitter to give up information on the social media platform’s users who interacted with Trump’s account. Among the information Smith sought was a list of every user Trump “followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked.” Smith also demanded that Twitter, which has since rebranded as X, produce a list of users who took any of the same actions with Trump’s account.
Eight of the 14 pages related to the search warrant are completely redacted, the New York Post reported.
Taking to Twitter after his first impeachment, in 2019, Trump posted a picture where he is pointing a finger towards the audience saying, “In reality, they’re not after me they’re after you I’m just in the way.” The line has been repeated in almost every speech he has given since.
Smith also sought information regarding Trump’s account which included “advertising information, advertising IDs, ad activity, and ad topic preferences,” as well as IP addresses “used to create, login, and use the account” and privacy and account settings as well as Trump’s search history, direct messages, and “content of all tweets created, drafted, favorited/liked, or retweeted” by his account from October 2020 to January 2021.
The team working at the behest of what critics say is a Department of Justice weaponized against Joe Biden’s political opponents, went even further in its demands on Twitter, seeking to acquire data on users who engaged with Trump’s tweets in the months leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 protest. This included “all lists of Twitter users who have favorited or retweeted tweets posted by [Trump], as well as all tweets that include the username associated with [Trump’s account] (i.e. ‘mentions’ or ‘replies.’ ”)
According to the New York Post, Smith’s warrant was issued to Twitter “along with a nondisclosure order, instructing the company not to notify Trump about the search.”
Twitter initially balked at Smith’s demand, arguing that to forfeit such information to the government constituted a violation of the First Amendment. The social media giant ultimately complied with the warrant but was fined $350,000 for failing to meet Smith’s demands by deadline.
Smith claimed that notifying Trump about the seizure of information “would result in a statutorily cognizable harm,” as Trump is “a sophisticated actor with an expansive platform.”
Smith formally lodged a four-count indictment against Trump in August over his contesting of the 2020 election.
Trump was barred from Twitter following the Jan. 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol. Trump was reinstated in November 2022 after Elon Musk took over the company, but has used it sparingly, instead favoring to post on his Truth Social platform.