There might be something in Donald Trump's DMs that's relevant to Special Counsel Jack Smith's January 6th case, and we're just now learning that Smith got a search warrant for Trump's dormant Twitter account back in January.
The New York Times reports today that prosecutors working with Smith sought and obtained a search warrant seven months ago for Trump's Twitter account. And this revelation comes via court papers unsealed today relating to an appeal that Twitter filed "challenging the judge’s decision to issue the warrant."
Prosecutors kept this secret from Trump, and requested permission to do so from the judge, saying in the court papers that alerting Trump to the warrant "would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation” and give the former president “an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, [or] notify confederates."
Trump was of course very active on Twitter in the period between the November 2020 election and January 6th, promoting his false narrative of a stolen or fraudulent election. All of those tweets were public. But was there also communication going on via the direct-message function between Trump and any of his co-conspirators?
The court papers, per the Times, did not indicate what Smith and co. were looking to find in the Twitter account, so we won't find out until later if they found what they were looking for.
The appeal by Twitter, which may be standard procedure, indicates that new owner Elon Musk was not looking to willingly comply with the special counsel's efforts. At that point, in January, Musk had welcomed back everyone who had previously had their Twitter accounts suspended for various reasons (except Kanye West), but Trump has chosen to only use Truth Social for posting his "truths" — which he may be contractually obligated to do.
Musk has not yet tweeted a comment about this search warrant, but he did put out a call last week to "cancel" the New York Times over an article about South Africa, where he is from.
In the latest of Trump's indictments, the former president stands accused of conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to disrupt the certification of the election, and conspiring to deprive the American people of the right to have their votes counted.
While the indictment in the classified documents case, also brought by Jack Smith, may be more open-and-shut in terms of its success in court, the January 6th case may prove more consequential for Trump — and it remains unclear how many of the so-far-unnamed but mostly known co-conspirators will end up flipping and providing prosecutors with further evidence.
As the Times notes, prosecutors have already seized cellphones and other devices from John Eastman, a lawyer who was advising the Trump team during this period; and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department figure whom Trump tried to install as attorney general.
The Times also reported Wednesday on a previously unknown internal memo circulated among Trump's advisors in December 2020, written by attorney Kenneth Chesebro, that prosecutors say is a key piece of evidence in explaining the strategy the team undertook to mobilize fake electors and overturn the result of the election.
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