Twitter turned over at least 32 direct messages from Trump’s account to special counsel

Sep 15, 2023, 10:49 AM | Updated: 10:56 am

former president donald trump, whose twitter messages were turned over to special counsel...

Former President Donald Trump visits the Alpha Gamma Rho, agricultural fraternity, at Iowa State University before an NCAA college football game between Iowa State and Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(CNN) — Twitter turned over at least 32 direct messages from the former President Donald Trump’s account – @realDonaldTrump – to special counsel Jack Smith earlier this year as part of the federal election subversion investigation, according to newly unsealed court filings.

The unsealed filings shed new light the extent of the special counsel investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Much of that conduct played out publicly, including on Trump’s Twitter account, where he promoted bogus claims of mass fraud and urged government officials to disrupt certification of the results.

But investigators were also able to access private records associated with the account, though it is not clear exactly how the messages have informed the investigation.

The detail of what prosecutors obtained with a search warrant issued to the social media platform was revealed in a brief submitted under seal in May to the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

Twitter – now known as “X” – was appealing a judge’s ruling that sanctioned the company for its delay in turning over the records from Trump’s account.

The company resisted producing the records because a court-approved order directed it not disclose to Trump details about the warrant. It raised concerns about the possibility that the former president might want to assert executive privilege over some of the materials on his account.

“Indeed, the materials Twitter produced to the Government included only 32 direct-message items, constituting a minuscule proportion of the total production,” the prosecutors wrote in the newly unsealed brief.

“As such, Twitter sought to delay compliance with the entirety of the Warrant based on the speculative possibility that a tiny fraction of the total production could, implausibly, contain instances when the President sought to use the direct-messaging function to carry out sensitive and confidential deliberations with trusted advisors within the Executive Branch,” prosecutors added.

The DC Circuit unsealed the brief Friday alongside other previously secret filings in the court dispute. Another court filing unsealed Friday said that the warrant sought information from October 2020 through January 2021.

The warrant sought “[a]ll content, records, and other information relating to communications sent from or received by the SUBJECT ACCOUNT from October 2020 to January 2021, including . .. The content of all direct messages sent from, received by, stored in draft form in, or otherwise associated with the SUBJECT ACCOUNT.” It also sought “All other content, records, and other information relating to all other interactions between the SUBJECT ACCOUNT and other Twitter users from October 2020 to January 2021.”

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Twitter turned over at least 32 direct messages from Trump’s account to special counsel