According to a heavily redacted search warrant released by the US Department of Justice on Monday, the special counsel prosecuting Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election has ordered X (formerly Twitter) to turn over account information on any users who interacted with the former president.
The search warrant asks for “all information from the ‘Connect’ or ‘Notifications’ tab for [Trump’s] account, including all lists of Twitter users who have favorited or retweeted tweets posted by the account, as well as all tweets that include the username associated with the account (i.e. ‘mentions’ or ‘replies’).” This includes in addition to Trump’s search history, direct messages, a list of everyone he “followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked,” and the “content of all tweets created, drafted, favorited/liked, or retweeted” from October 2020 to January 2021.
According to the paper, even advertising information, topic preferences, conversations with X’s support personnel, and material that was deleted but is still available on the platform must be turned over to the prosecution.
Prosecutors are attempting to quiet Trump with a gag order.
“There is no benign or reasonable justification for that demand,” FBI whistleblower Steve Friend said in a Tuesday post on X. Many Trump fans rushed to X to condemn the decision, branding Smith a “enemy of the people” and urging Congress to defund his inquiry.
The warrant also wants a list of EVERY account that followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked a former President’s account.
There is no benign or reasonable justification for that demand. https://t.co/oBFrMUdC5S
— Steve Friend (@RealStevefriend) November 29, 2023
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from media organizations concerned about the investigation’s secrecy, the Justice Department revealed the warrant and numerous additional papers.
Even though special counsel Jack Smith had ordered X to turn over the information in January, the existence of the warrant only became public in August with Trump’s indictment. The warrant included a provision prohibiting the business from alerting Trump about the search.
While X initially refused to comply due to the gag order, claiming it violated the First Amendment, Smith countered that informing the ex-president would result in “statutorily cognizable harm,” such as “destruction or tampering with evidence, intimidation of potential witnesses, or other serious jeopardy to an investigation or delaying of trial.”
The platform X eventually agreed to divulge the data, but failed to meet a court deadline, incurring a $350,000 fine for contempt of court.
In August, Trump was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to impede an official procedure, impeding a congressional hearing, and conspiracy against rights in connection with his alleged efforts to reverse the 2020 election. He entered a not guilty plea to all counts.
While the election-interference charge is only one of numerous felony indictments filed against the Republican this year, polls of probable 2024 voters have recently moved him ahead of incumbent Joe Biden.
4 out of 5 Republicans Think Trump Investigations Are ‘Witch Hunt
According to a new poll, four out of five Republicans see the several investigations investigating Donald Trump as “a witch hunt,” a phrase the former president frequently uses to disparage the cases.
According to a nationwide Marist poll, 80% of self-identified Republicans believe the investigations into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, his efforts to encourage Georgia officials to overturn his loss in 2020, and his handling of confidential materials are a “witch hunt.” Only 18% of Republicans thought they were reasonable.
Trump’s legal problems do not appear to be affecting his chances in the Republican presidential primary in 2024, where he remains the frontrunner in nearly every recent poll, behind only by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not formally launched a candidacy.
On his Truth Social account and at campaign rallies, he has slammed the prosecutors behind the cases, including a big one in Waco, Texas, over the weekend that featured a video of a choir made up of inmates in jail for their roles in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
However, the image is not the same for all Americans. Only 41% said the probes were a “witch hunt.” Fifty-six percent of all adults thought the investigations were fair.
Nonetheless, the Marist poll provided one red flag for Trump. White evangelical Christians, who helped him win in 2016, were less enthusiastic, with only 61% calling the investigations a “witch hunt” and 37% feeling they were fair.
The survey of 1,327 adults was conducted March 20-23, while the final witnesses in the hush money case were being heard by a grand jury in Manhattan.