Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton revealed Wednesday that attorneys for the Department of Justice (DOJ) allegedly collected information on the American public through a search warrant on former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
A judge’s ruling on Nov. 17 to reveal the heavily redacted search warrant, filed earlier in the year by special counsel Jack Smith, appeared to have provided the DOJ with information well beyond just Trump, according to The Politics Brief.
“We have a simple request for Congress, do your job. It’s not enough to do investigations and reports. We need to stop the government corruption and abuse that is so concerning to the American people,” Fitton stated in response to the discovery.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation into Trump’s alleged election inference, reportedly requested information on all users Trump had followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, unblocked, or blocked from October 2020 to January 2021. In addition, users who followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked, or unblocked Trump were allegedly tagged as well.
The reported search warrant paints a broad scope of what the DOJ was requesting to obtain on Trump’s personal information from Twitter, allowing the DOJ to allegedly open their search to users who were merely connected to the 45th president.
From images and “logs and metadata,” Smith included “all lists of Twitter users who have favorited or retweeted posts by the account, as well as all tweets that include the username associated with the account (i.e., “mentions” or “replies”).”
The warrant continued to include Trump’s geolocation, private messages, search history, and contact information, according to The Politics Brief.
Smith obtained a search warrant at the beginning of 2023 for the former president’s Twitter account. In response, Twitter had delayed handing over the information and instead filed a sealed court case seeking to block the DOJ’s order to not tell Trump or anyone else about the warrant, according to CNBC.
The warrant and lawsuit were not revealed until August when a federal appeals court decision revealed that they had upheld a lower court judge’s decision to fine the social media company $350,000 for failing to comply with the warrant’s three-day deadline and instead handing over the information on Feb. 9, the outlet reported.
Twitter had argued that withholding the information from their “subscriber,” Trump, would violate the company’s constitutional free speech rights. Nevertheless, the DOJ pushed back against the company, stating that allowing the 45th president to become aware of the information would interfere with the investigation, according to CNBC.
The ruling was unanimous by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Notably, two of the judges had been appointed by President Biden, and the third was appointed by former President Barack Obama, CNBC reported.