Four judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rebuked their colleagues Tuesday for rubber-stamping special counsel Jack Smith’s request to search former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
Smith obtained a search warrant in January 2023 granting him access to a wide range of data from Trump’s Twitter account, such as draft tweets and direct messages, along with a nondisclosure order barring Twitter from informing the former president. The full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined Tuesday to rehear en banc Twitter’s appeal of a panel decision upholding the nondisclosure order, which Judge Naomi Rao, a Trump appointee, wrote in a statement Tuesday joined by three other judges that the court “should not have endorsed.”
“The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act,” Rao wrote. “The district court and this court permitted this arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search.”
JUST IN: A split bench of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Twitter's appeal of the rulings granting Jack Smith access to Trump's Twitter feed.
The court's conservatives say the rulings shortchanged Trump's right to assert executive privilege.https://t.co/GgTXRFN6KA
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 16, 2024
Judges Karen Henderson, a George H. W. Bush appointee, along with Trump-appointed Judges Gregory Katsas and Justin Walker joined Rao’s statement.
“The district court afforded no opportunity for the former President to invoke executive privilege before disclosure, and this court made no mention of the privilege concerns entangled in a third-party search of a President’s social media account,” Rao wrote. “This approach directly contravenes the principles and procedures long used to adjudicate claims of executive privilege.”
Holy sh*t: 4 judges on DC appellate court just delivered a scorching smack down of Special Counsel Jack Smith, Judge Beryl Howell, and Judge Florence Pan for search of Trump’s Twitter file.
“The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive… pic.twitter.com/jwIIIxeZPB
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) January 16, 2024
District Court Judge Beryl Howell first approved the warrant in a decision a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit, which included Obama-appointed Judge Cornelia Pillard and Biden-appointed Judges Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, later affirmed on appeal.
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