Special Counsel Obtained Trump’s Twitter DMs Before Jan. 6 Indictment

Federal prosecutors obtained many of former President Donald Trump’s direct messages sent on his Twitter account, as well as drafts and deleted missives, according to court papers unsealed Tuesday.

It’s unclear what information the direct messages may contain or who they were exchanged with. But the revelation, first reported by CNN, adds new details to court documents from last week that first showed Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith’s team had obtained a search warrant for Trump’s Twitter account in January.

The court papers say that federal prosecutors sought “all content, records and other information” related to Trump’s account covering the period from October 2020 to January 2021 — when his @realDonaldTrump handle was permanently suspended — including drafts and any messages that were liked or retweeted. The dates would encompass the run-up to the 2020 election through the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The documents stem from court hearings in February after Twitter tried to resist the search warrant, claiming a linked nondisclosure order would violate the company’s First Amendment rights.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia later fined Twitter — now known as X — $350,000 after it delayed complying. The company later turned over the information to Smith’s team.

But the court filings show U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell excoriated Twitter in February, accusing the company of taking “extraordinary” steps to inform Trump about the search warrant. At one point, Howell asked the company’s lawyers if owner Elon Musk wanted to “make Donald Trump feel like he is a particularly welcomed new renewed user of Twitter?”

The former president was indicted Aug. 1 on four federal charges related to multiple conspiracies surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Trump attacked Smith on Sunday amid reports of the search warrant, calling the special counsel a “lowlife prosecutor” and accusing the man of breaking into his account “without informing me.”

“What could he possibly find out that is not already known,” Trump asked on Truth Social, the social media account he established after being suspended from Twitter.

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