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Justice Dept. Pursues Information on Trump Opponents, Issues Search Warrant for Website Used to Organize Protests

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A web hosting provider is fighting back against a search warrant that it claims would require them to turn over information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against President Donald Trump, according to court filings first published on the company’s blog Monday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about leaks of classified information at the White House on Aug. 4, 2017. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about leaks of classified information at the White House on Aug. 4, 2017. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

DreamHost, the web provider in question, said in the post that it has “been working with the Department of Justice to comply with legal process” for months, but federal prosecutors in DC are seeking “all records” related to the website, which organized protests against the Trump administration in January.

Prosecutors obtained a search warrant for the records in July and are now asking a federal judge to force the company to turn over the information.

The warrant includes “all files” in DreamHost’s possession, as well as information on “subscribers” to and information on those who “participated, planned, organized, or incited” the January protests.

DreamHost contends in court filings that DOJ’s requests are unconstitutionally overbroad and would effectively require them to provide the HTTP logs for over 1.3 million IP addresses of visitors to the website.

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost said in the blog post. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind. This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

It is not clear whether DOJ will stand by the breadth of its request, but it argued in an earlier court filing that “DreamHost’s opinion of the breadth of the warrant does not provide it with a basis for refusing to comply with the Court’s search warrant and begin an immediate production.”

The US Attorney’s office in DC told CNN on Tuesday that beyond its earlier court filings, it had no further comment.

A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday.

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