Special Counsel Jack Smith demanded information on Twitter users who liked or retweeted former President Donald Trump’s tweets leading up to the January 6 riot, according to a heavily redacted search warrant and other documents released Monday.
Smith’s comprehensive search warrant sought the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner’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 special counsel also demanded a list of all devices used to log into Trump’s then-Twitter, now X account, as well as information on users who interacted with the then-president in the months leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, the court filings show.
Among the information Smith sought were lists of all Twitter users who “favorited or retweeted” Trump’s tweets, “as well as all tweets that include the username associated with the account” in “mentions” or “replies.”
The special counsel also requested a list of every user Trump “followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked” and a list of users who took any of the same actions with Trump’s account during the aforementioned timeframe.
“There is no benign or reasonable justification for that demand,” wrote former FBI agent/whistleblower Steve Friend on X.
Smith demanded the information as part of the special counsel “investigation into Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.” In August, Smith formally lodged a four-count indictment against Trump, accusing him of a massive criminal conspiracy to reverse the results of the 2020 election.
The court released the warrant after multiple media organizations filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the document.
Eight of the search warrant’s 14 pages are completely redacted, the New York Post reported.
The warrant included a nondisclosure order instructing the company not to notify Trump about the search.
The social media giant objected to the order, arguing unsuccessfully that it was a violation of the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act.
The DOJ argued back that notifying Trump would result in “statutorily cognizable harm.”
“For what appears to be the first time in its history, Twitter Inc. (‘Twitter’) has filed a motion to vacate or modify an order that it not disclose the existence of a search warrant,” Smith said, adding that “there is reason to believe notification to the former president, a sophisticated actor with an expansive platform, would result in a statutorily cognizable harm.”
X ultimately complied with the warrant but was fined $350,000 for failing to meet Smith’s demands by deadline, according to the Federalist.
Trump’s legal team has since appealed the order, calling it “unconstitutional,” and has threatened to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.