new seal opened court filing Show Jack Smith’s team what special advice they were looking for when they found it search warrant Ordering Twitter to hand over Donald Trump’s account information — and the same filing shows US District Judge Beryl Howell’s complete lack of patience for Twitter’s arguments that it should be allowed to tell Trump about the warrant.
political man summarizes information The Special Counsel sought:
– Accounts linked to @realdonaldtrump that the former president may have used on the same device.
— @realdonaldtrump The device used to log into the account
— IP address used to log into the account between October 2020 and January 2021.
– Privacy Settings and History
– All Tweets “created, drafted, favorited, or retweeted” by @realdonaldtrump, including all Tweets that have since been deleted.
– All direct messages sent, received, stored in draft form or otherwise associated with @realdonaldtrump
— All search records from October 2020 to January 2021
– Location information for users of @realdonaldtrump from October 2020 to January 2021
At one point a lawyer for Twitter confirmed that there were direct messages to Trump’s account.
It is quite clear that Twitter has dragged its feet in producing much of the information – or that its ability to produce information was hampered by staff shortages in the wake of Elon Musk’s layoffs – which prompted one of the federal prosecutors to prompted to say, “I don’t claim to be a tech wizard, but this doesn’t seem like a complicated issue to hit Control+F and see IP addresses, email addresses, or phone numbers used by Trump’s account and other accounts.
But the real most contentious issue was Twitter’s effort to fight the non-disclosure order specifically for Trump, and Howell repeatedly pressed Twitter’s outside counsel on that issue, asking, “Is it because the CEO Want to warm up to the former president, and that’s why you’re here? At another point, he demanded that Twitter produce documents from the time it went to court to fight the NDO.
In a particularly candid moment, Howell even asked, “Is this to make Donald Trump feel like he’s a particularly welcome new user of Twitter?”
George Varghese, the Wilmerhale attorney representing Twitter, responded, “Twitter has no interest in litigation other than its constitutional rights.” The main constitutional right that Twitter claimed was a First Amendment right to speak to Trump about it. Howell was not having it.
“You don’t know half of the warrant you’re coming here to delay the execution of,” he told Twitter’s lawyers. Prosecutors also emphasized that they had significant concerns about Trump knowing about the warrant prior to its execution. Prosecutor Gregory Bernstein warned, “There are indeed solid cognizable reasons to think this: if the president were informed of these secret investigative steps, there would be real harm to the investigation and concern for witnesses going forward.” The President knowing about this search warrant would have serious adverse consequences.
There are two clear possibilities about the reason behind this court battle: either the special counsel’s office was convinced it would find something important in Trump’s Twitter account, or the special counsel’s office was only considering proposals. Looks like this. Either way, Trump should be scared.