Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023

Special counsel’s office obtained 32 direct messages from Trump’s Twitter account

WASHINGTON — The social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, turned over 32 direct messages from former President Donald Trump’s account on the platform to special counsel Jack Smith’s office, according to court filing unsealed Friday.

Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office revealed the number of messages in a memo filed before a D.C. federal appeals court earlier this year, according to the filing. The social media company was forced to turn over the records after receiving a search warrant in January from Smith’s office.

Smith’s office filed the memo after Twitter appealed a lower court’s decision that forced the company to comply with the search warrant and an accompanying order that barred Twitter from informing Trump or his lawyers about the warrant.

The warrant itself was also unsealed Friday. It shows prosecutors were also looking for all accounts and usernames associated with Trump’s account, and all devices that were used to login to the account.

It also sought “all content, records, and other information relating to communications sent from or received by” the account between October of 2020 and January of 2021, including all direct messages. It also asked for information about searches that were conducted by the account in that time period, and “all advertising information.”

The existence of the warrant — and the fact that Twitter complied — was previously revealed when the appeals court’s ruling was unsealed in August. That ruling said that Smith’s office was searching for “evidence of criminal offenses.”

The 32 direct messages turned over to prosecutors represent a “minuscule proportion” of the total data provided by Twitter, according to the newly unsealed filing.

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks in Rapid City, S.D., on Sept. 8, 2023.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images file

It’s unclear exactly what the direct messages that were obtained say or what other data the special counsel’s office received.

The indictment that charged Trump last month with using “unlawful means” to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election repeatedly referred to the former president’s tweets. Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office, for example, included tweets in which Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to reject Electoral College votes before Congress and tweets urging his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

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