Former President Donald Trump was hit with bad news in one of his federal criminal cases while making an appearance at a Manhattan courthouse for a separate civil lawsuit on Tuesday.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an appeal from X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday. The appeal requested a rehearing of the search warrant granted to Special Counsel Jack Smith. This warrant allowed access to President Trump’s Twitter feed as part of an investigation into federal election interference.
In August, the public learned about the existence of a warrant that was granted in January 2022. The social media platform initially resisted handing over access, resulting in a $350,000 fine. X was prevented from informing Trump about the search due to a nondisclosure obtained by the Justice Department. The purpose of Smith’s search on the account remains unclear. However, it is worth noting that Trump used Twitter in the days leading up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Following the attack, Twitter banned the former president from the platform as his tweets violated their terms. Although his access was restored under Elon Musk’s ownership, Trump has yet to return to the platform.
Newsweek contacted Trump through email to seek his comment.
While the latest development in the federal case was unfolding, Trump found himself in court for another case in Manhattan. Specifically, he was present for the commencement of the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial on Tuesday.
The federal appeals court’s order was a setback for Trump. However, four conservatives on the court expressed concerns about the search warrant potentially granting the Justice Department access to private materials, such as direct messages, that Trump was not able to protect using executive privilege.
Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, expressed her concerns over the court-ordered disclosure of presidential communications without notice to the President and without any adjudication of executive privilege. She pointed out that in previous cases involving access to presidential communications, the President had the opportunity to litigate claims of executive privilege, or the court had denied access to the materials. According to Judge Rao, there is no precedent for what occurred in this case, making it an unprecedented situation.
According to Rao, Smith dismissed Twitter’s attempts to address concerns regarding Trump’s access to confidential information through his messages. However, it is common knowledge that President Trump utilized his Twitter account for official purposes.
According to her, the Special Counsel should not have been able to avoid asserting presidential privilege by simply issuing the warrant to a third party. She argued that since it is the President’s information, he should not be able to evade the assertion of privilege.
Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson, Gregory Katsas, and Justin Walker also shared Rao’s opinion. It is worth noting that both Katsas and Walker were appointed by Trump, while Henderson was appointed by George H.W. Bush.
In Iowa, Trump emerged as the victor, securing a landslide victory with 51 percent of the Republican vote. His closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, fell far behind, trailing Trump by nearly 30 percentage points. This triumph further adds to Trump’s recent successes.