Twitter Hands Over 32 Trump's Direct Messages to Federal Investigators

Twitter, now rebranded as “X”, recently turned over 32 direct messages from former President Donald Trump’s account, @realDonaldTrump, to special counsel Jack Smith

by Faruk Imamovic
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Twitter Hands Over 32 Trump's Direct Messages to Federal Investigators
© Getty Images News/Joe Raedle

Twitter, now rebranded as “X”, recently turned over 32 direct messages from former President Donald Trump’s account, @realDonaldTrump, to special counsel Jack Smith. This move comes as part of the intensifying federal election subversion investigation, the intricacies of which have been brought to light by the latest unsealed court filings.

A Risk of Tampering?

Prosecutors sought these messages under the belief that Trump could potentially tamper with evidence. Documents addressed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals outlined the alleged actions taken by Trump after the controversial 2020 election.

These actions reportedly included pressuring both state and federal officials, retaliating against those who defied his directives, covering the legal fees of witnesses in the probe, and publicly disparaging the special counsel office’s top prosecutor.

In the documents, the special counsel's office states, “This pattern of obstructive conduct amply supports the district court’s conclusion that the former President presents a significant risk of tampering with evidence, seeking to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and ‘otherwise seriously jeopardizing’ the Government’s ongoing investigations”.

The Controversy with "X"

However, the path to obtaining these records was fraught with obstacles. The transformation of Twitter into “X” added another dimension to an already complicated case. The company was initially resistant to relinquishing these records, citing a court-approved order that prohibited them from disclosing warrant details to Trump.

Additionally, there was apprehension over the possibility that the former president might assert executive privilege over certain materials on his account. The prosecution, in their unsealed brief, clarified, “Indeed, the materials Twitter produced to the Government included only 32 direct-message items, constituting a minuscule proportion of the total production”.

They further argued that Twitter’s reluctance was unfounded. They said, “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”.

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