How gov. prosecutors obtained access to Trump's Twitter messages is revealed

September 16, 2023

Newly released court documents reveal how federal prosecutors went about secretly obtaining a search warrant for former President Donald Trump's Twitter account. 

According to Politico, among other things, prosecutors argued that, if Trump knew about the government's attempt to access his Twitter account, violence would result.

Per the outlet, "Federal prosecutors secretly argued in April that if Donald Trump learned of their efforts to access his Twitter account, his public disclosure of the development could 'precipitate violence.'"

Politico goes on to quote the court filing, which states that informing Trump about the Twitter search warrant "could precipitate violence as occurred following the public disclosure of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago."

Background

One of the big news items in recent months was the revelation that the federal government secretly obtained access to Trump's Twitter account.

The effort was led by special counsel Jack Smith, specifically in relation to the Jan. 6, 2021, criminal indictment that Smith has brought against Trump. Smith obtained access to Trump's Twitter account as part of his investigation of this case.

Behind the scenes, it turns out that Twitter, now known as X, attempted to fight the search warrant. The company also argued that it had the right to at least tell Trump that his account was being searched by the government.

Twitter, however, lost the fight. It ended up being fined $350,000 by the court, and it was forced to hand the requested documents over to Smith.

We now know that Smith obtained 32 direct messages from Trump's X account. The contents of the messages, however, remain unrevealed.

Smith's arguments

Perhaps even more important than what is stated above are the arguments that we now know Smith used to obtain the warrant to search Trump's X account.

Smith and his team, for example, claimed that Trump presented a "significant risk of tampering with evidence, seeking to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and ‘otherwise seriously jeopardizing’ the Government’s ongoing investigations."

Smith and his team also made the argument cited above - that telling Trump that his X account is being searched by the government could lead to violence should Trump publicly reveal this information.

Obviously, the judge in the case - U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell - bought into Smith and the prosecution's arguments here because Smith was eventually given access to Trump's X account.

Trump has already spoken out against Smith's access to his X account. But, at the time of this writing, it does not appear that Trump has released a statement in response to the most recently released court documents.

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