Trump Administration Demands Information On Over A Million Visitors To Anti-Trump Website

DreamHost was hit by the demand after  the Justice Department filed a motion in late July in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.   According to the host’s filing, the resulting July 12th warrant demands “names, addresses, telephone numbers and other identifiers, e-mail addresses, business information, the length of service (including start date), means and source of payment for services (including any credit card or bank account number), and information about any domain name registration.”The company had a valid stated concern:

“The request from the [Justice Department] demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses — in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people — in an effort to determine who simply visited 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. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”

The website helped coordinate demonstrations against President Trump in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day in January.  Some of those protesters turned violent and have faced indictments.  It is clear that the government has a right to investigate those individuals but the government also has a duty to tailor such demands in light of the powerful free speech interests involved in such demonstrations.  I see no evidence of such tailoring in this demand and the court should give the warrant close scrutiny in light of its obvious impact on political speech.

A hearing is scheduled in Washington before District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz on Friday about the information request.

Here is the company’s filing: DreamHost filing

the United States response to the filing: DreamHost/US filing

156 thoughts on “Trump Administration Demands Information On Over A Million Visitors To Anti-Trump Website”


    “9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB”
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  2. Should old men trying to pass bicyclists be given a mister based off a video and facial recognition? Data bases are fished everyday…..perhaps our arguements and energy ought tobe spent stopping the database creation then the fishing would end.

  3. Fire in crowded theater: According to the constitution congress cannot pass a law prohibiting such speech. But each and every state can, citing public safety.

    No matter how the supreme muckups misconstrue the constitution.

  4. Professor Turley, if your leftist “putsch” succeeds, you will soon be out of business as a legal and constitutional scholar.

    After you help usher in the next democrat administration and legislature, and they officially abrogate the constitution, you will need a revised resume.

    Is there such a position as “Presidium Edict and Communist Manifesto Scholar” under the dictatorship of a communist regime?

  5. Sticking up for Trump is like eating a soup sandwich. Reading these comments from the peanut crowd that backs Trump no matter what, is battling ignorance on steroids. There are people here that the train has left the docks and the hand is on the other foot.

      1. Glad somebody gets it, because it’s become so insane that just thinking of it makes me brain hurt.

    1. Is there any evidence trump or sessions directed this? Perhaps the fbi is doing its job. Hillarry funds a resistance…that’s fine until they break laws. Which the vandals did. The cops have to follow the money…and it exists. Last summer a kid got in trouble in our town…he was funded by the campaign…
      He got a public defender….because his job was over I november….
      but how many were still on the resistance payroll….there is a right to asdociate but there is not a right to . Pay associates to commit crimes… blocking roads ….starting fights etc..

        1. What’s amazing about you is the witless fictions you dream up in lieu of actually learning anything.

          1. DSS – that statement is partially correct. There was a strike by German women whose husbands were Jewish and were going to or had been sent to internment camps. They got their husbands back for the duration of the war. Not sure they were supporters of Hitler. Also, they were a few Jews and half-Jews in key positions who were granted immunity. They were working for the government and may or may not have been supporters of Hitler.

            1. Paul, As Hitlers wrath encompassed more and more Jews less and less were offered protection. In Hungary George Soros collaberated with the Germans turning in Jews and profiting off of it. An old Hitler comrad in arms by the name of Hess (Not the noteworthy Hess) was given immunity, but his sister ended up dying at Aushwitz and other relatives were interned as well. Hess, himself, went to Italy. I don’t know how many of the lives, if any, you talk about were spared till the end of the war.

              I don’t know of any others, German in origin, that were spared by the war’s end except for potential collaberators outside of Germany. If you have information to demonstrate those in Germany that were permitted to live in Germany till the end of the war without internment, please let me know. The Finish Jews were not German in origin.

              1. allan – the public embarrassment of the strike was too much for the Nazis to handle. I just know the story, not the numbers.

        2. bettykath, How do you know Jews supported Hitler? Were you there to take a poll? Albert Einstein who could have been helpful to the German war machine had to leave and he, a Jew, certainly didn’t support Hitler. Many Jews felt they were German (German nationalism) and would be considered that, but the Jews didn’t support Hitler. Your comment seems to demonstrate great ignorance.

          1. The Jewish population of Germany declined by 97% over a 12 year period. Doesn’t stop bettykath from offering another silly fantasy.

            1. Do you know how that 3% survived? Were they hidden or permitted to live? If you have reliable data on this or individuals can you post the http?

    1. David, If the host is knowingly being used to aid violence then the public has a right to shut them down. That is the question that has to be decided.

      But where did you fall on the issue of the IRS being used as a political instrument against Obama’s enemies?

      1. For the first paragraph, first amendment.

        For the second, a counterfactual.

        1. Can you shout fire in a theater? No. The first amendment has limitations

          The second. It’s not counterfactual. Look up the word in a dictionary. The second was a question. I’ll ask you again.

          where did you fall on the issue of the IRS being used as a political instrument against Obama’s enemies?

          1. allan – you cannot shout fire in a crowded theatre. It has to do with the number of people who can get jammed in the exits. I have read a lot on theatre fires. That is why almost everything in a legitimate theatre is fire-proofed.

            1. WE know Paul. You and I are both very aware of theater fires, but is David aware that you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater. The answer is apparently, he is not aware.

              1. allan – I know I am being a pedant here, but you cannot falsely yell fire in a crowded theatre. If there is a fire, it is alright, but not good form.

                1. Yes, that was the meaning, but actually you can even if there is no fire, but then you can be arrested.

  6. I’m stunned that Turley refuses to comment on Charlottesville. He posts a lot of garbage like mug shots of people but he won’t comment on one of the most significant weekends in our recent history. Sometimes, I honestly think he’s angling for a lifetime appointment to something, so he refuses to take bold stands. This website is looking more and more like a lot of the current GOP regarding the dreadful Mr. Trump – limp.

    1. He has completely gone off the reservation. No idea why he wants to be in bed with Trump. His academic and intellectual bona fides are taking a serious hit.

    2. What is there to say about Charlottesville, roseanne? Two warring groups decided to duke it out in a city park. Both were full of bad intention. The cops were made to stand down creating anarchy. Due to the anarchy and ineptness of planning by the higherups, a person was killed when an apparent combatant rammed his car into several others who were stopped for a crowd crossing the street (screaming “we own the streets” btw) propelling them into the air. And most importantly, two brave and innocent Va State Troopers just doing their jobs died while riding a defective helicopter that had already crash landed once in 2010 when the engine malfunctioned. That’s what we know. Anything else is sheer speculation and ranting designed to divide. In the legal business, we tend to wait for facts to come out; not manufacture them to suit our tastes.

      1. “We own the streets”, what nerve. Free speech does not apply unless you are a trumpster. Again, pathetic much.

  7. One more step ahead towards what Nazi Germany lived. I hope he is impeached before he ends our democracy for ever.

    1. Graciela,
      Were you calling for Obama’s impeachment when his IRS was targeting conservative groups?

      1. I wasn’t calling for impeachment. But I did want an investigation into it.

      2. Except it wasn’t just conservative groups, it was groups from both sides of the aisle, but you’ve conveniently forgotten that, haven’t you?

          1. That’s actually not true. Other groups, including those with “progressive” in the name were given additional scrutiny also.

            1. Scrutiny, that’s a euphemism for due diligence. There was some of that for conservative groups as well. Then there was outright targeting of conservative groups. Those facts are not even in question.

    2. In case you don’t know, we ar a constitutional republic. That is different than a democracy. If you don’t understand the difference let me know and I will help you out.

      1. You’re fixated on aristotelian categories which are no longer particularly descriptive or important.

        1. DSS, We differ considerably and you should note that most people on this blog were born quite awhile ago. Part of good government is individual morality and knowledge of what your government is. If you feel that it is not useful to understand what a democracy can lead to then all your protestations against the left are meaningless.

          (this may be included in aristotelian categories, but was something extremely important to the founders 200+ years ago.

          1. If you feel that it is not useful to understand what a democracy can lead to

            Problems in political architecture are properly investigated with historical and sociological inquiry, not some sort of deductive process or speculative reasoning. We have an ample dataset on elective and deliberative institutions compiled over centuries. What Aristotle said or Gourverneur Morris’ gloss on Aristotle is primarily of academic interest.

            1. “is primarily of academic interest”

              DSS, Absolutely not. You seem to ascribe to the principle of democracy where 51% of the people can vote to enslave the other 49%. That I believe is called the tyranny of the majority. It needs to be well understood.

              1. No, it’s of academic interest. If you want to know the implications of various legal regimes, you have to study them.

                1. It provides an understanding of our form of government and why majorities can’t always have their way.

                  There is no compulsion for you to see things my way.

        2. DSS – the Jesuits always told me to define my terms first. Are we a democracy? No, only a few small towns in Vermont actually use a democracy to run their community. Everyone else uses a representative elected Constitutionally, to help guide them. Even my HOA is set up that way.

          1. Paul, you use language to communicate. If you insist on using terminology in a way it is used only by Birch Society veterans and Wm. Voegli imitators, that is to whom you will be speaking. And no one else. The term ‘direct democracy’ refers to such things as town meetings and referenda.

            Allan insists on using ‘democracy’ in the fashion of Aristotle, in whose work it was pejorative. IIRC, some of the 18th century politicians of which antiquarians are so fond favored this usage. Alexander Hamilton used terms like “democaratical” descriptively, not as pejoratively.

            1. No, look at the debates before and during the American Revolution. There was discussion of Democracy and it was looked at as the worst form of government. Just because Athens had a Democracy some 500 years or so BC doesn’t mean the word is archaic. It means that people do not understand the implications behind a democracy. Many Americans believe that the majority should rule, but that is not true. The Constitution should rule or did you forget about it, DSS. That is why so many people become confused when the hear over 50% want this or that type of healthcare. First one has to consider if it is Constitutional and then try to create a law pass it and hope it is Constitutional. It is not by vote of the people. If it were then the two foxes and one chicken would know exactly which one of the three is for lunch.

              It appears DSS that you wish to be so inexact that language does not communicate. That is your failure for you have used language in the past that communicated the wrong things.

              1. No, look at the debates before and during the American Revolution.

                You go read The Federalist and see how the term is used.

                1. I’ve read the Federalist Papers, American history and the Constitution. My interest is in the reasons we chose a constitutional republic instead of a democracy and that people should understand that majorities do not necessarily rule. Since our founders felt democracy was a bad form of government they formed a constitutional republic.

                  If you have some point go ahead and quote your point from the Federalist Papers in context to this discussion.

                  Paul brings to the table an important point. ” the Jesuits always told me to define my terms first.” I agree.

            2. DSS – you can read or not read my comments as you seem fit, that is up to you and others. Some people like what I write, some don’t. Doesn’t hurt my feelings either way. I just put it out there. As a contrarian, I just stir the pot.

  8. Professor Turley, if your leftist “putsch” succeeds, you will soon be out of business as a legal and constitutional scholar. After you help usher in the next democrat administration and legislature and they officially abrogate the constitution, you will need a revised resume. Is there such a postilion as “Presidium Edict and Communist Manifesto Scholar” under the dictatorship of a communist regime?

    1. Turley is not a leftist. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
      He is an honest scholar, and his conclusion are always based on close reading of the law.
      But you’re entitled to your opinion.

      1. Start here, comrade and official State Beneficiary of “Affirmative Action Privilege,”

        Article 1, Section 8

        “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,…to…provide for…general Welfare…”

        See if you can notice the definitive constitutional exclusion of any and all taxation for Individual Welfare in any form including the racist and sexist bias of “Affirmative Action Privilege” as a tool to redistribute wealth in the form of employment and matriculation,

        then move on to the unalienable right to private property which James Madison defined as

        “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the
        world, in exclusion of every other individual”


        It is impossible to take private property from one man to give that private property to another without violating the definition of the word and the Constitution.

        Under the Constitution, you have no claim to other people’s money, jobs or college acceptance. .

        Sorry. You have to obtain it the old fashioned way; you have to EARN it.

  9. What I don’t see here is any reason why this information would be needed. Was a crime committed? What’s the purpose of having this information on so many people other than to create and enemies list?

    1. I don’t see how anything the website has could be even vaguely related to any crimes that may have been committed during the inauguration protests.

    2. Horuss – if you read the entire article, some of the people who used the site were involved in violent protests. Therein lie the crimes. Now the question is do we have a sleeper cell of 1.3m domestic terrorists?

    3. “What’s the purpose of having this information on so many people other than to create and enemies list?”

      I am no attorney, I only watch them on TV.

      But conspiracy charges come to mind. Sometimes conspiracy to commit a crime carries harsher penalties than the actual crime.

      And if you can find a way to associate a political agenda to the crime then you have terrorism.

      However a request for information regarding 1.3 million users sounds like a fishing expedition to me.

      In any case, this request has serious implications for any group that organizes a political protest.

      1. Is this request anything like Obongo “wiretapping” Angela Merkel, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and President Trump? Or is it anything like Obongo, Sleazie Rice and Sammy Power “unmasking” political opponents during a presidential election?

  10. Step back and take a good, hard look at the big picture. You have an Electoral College President [one who lost the popular vote] with a massive ego, easily threatened, who lives for self-aggrandizement, who wages war on news media, and who thinks that heads of agencies of the US Government should make a personal pledge of loyalty to him. Now you have the Justice Department unreasonably demanding information from people who merely visited an anti-Chump website. The Court should strike down this request, of course, even Chump’s Justice Department knows this, but anyone with a brain knows that this tactic was employed to intimidate people who oppose the fat orange blob and to deter them from organizing protests against him. That’s the scary part. Every single day, we are exposed to another scandal and more proof of just how unfit that fat orange slob is to be President. Jon: are you going to turn over my information to Chump’s Justice Department because I said this?

  11. So, could the government sue in order to find out who watches CNN or Rachel Maddlow? Or will we all have to just watch WWE to escape suspicion?

  12. The Administration should have limited its request to cover the violence. To be fair, they may be trying to uncover a conspiracy to commit violence, and don’t have the names of everyone involved yet. People participated in an event that may have planned to commit violence from the beginning.

    However, there were 1 million people on that hosting service, and only a fraction of those committed crimes.

    They were wrong to make their request so broad, both from the law perspective and the principle of the thing. Many people objected to the abuse of power when the NSA fraudulently collected information on law abiding citizens and then lied about it under oath. Many of our complaints on the uber presidency of Obama was his misuse of authority to target and spy on ordinary Americans, as well as the targeting of conservatives specifically. Our government became weaponized against conservatives.

    I most emphatically do not want to see the same thing happen to Liberals. We are allowed to disagree with and protest our government. We are allowed to be rude and completely unreasonable if we choose. Trump is wrong if he sends the message that he is against free speech.

    Bush was very classy about accepting unfair criticism. He took the high road and often wouldn’t even respond to charges he felt were unwarranted. And the GOP paid for that because Liberals were able to define Republicans as evil. That meme took root and grew so that there are a significant number of people who lack enough critical reasoning skills as to think that half the country is inhumane racist bigots. Many conservatives are gleeful at Trump’s repeated fights with the mainstream media.

    But those fights are not effective. He doesn’t win the argument when listeners come away thinking the media was right. He has to defend his policies in such a way that he successfully gets the message to those who doubt him.

    1. First if all, this tactic was employed to intimidate those wishing to oppose Tangerine Man, to scare off people wanting to visit the website and to prevent them from organizing. That should concern you.

      Secondly, people with common sense don’t need the media to explain to them just how odious Chump is, that he is immature, egotistical, that he only wanted to be President because of the glory and power associated with the office, that he is a virulent a racist, xenophobe and misogynist, and that people like him voted for him because they are the same kind of people. He pandered to the worst qualities and irrational fears of low-educated whites. These characteristics are odious to reasonable, rational people and are anti-American. Chump is the President of the White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis, as David Duke reminded him on Saturday. People don’t necessarily associate Chump and people like Bannon, for instance, as Republicans. The party has changed drastically since the days of Reagan, but if he’s your Republican President, then you own him and all of the baggage that goes with him unless you speak out against what he stands for.

      You say the criticism of Bush was “unfair”. No, it wasn’t. He wasn’t very bright and lacked leadership skills. He started a war that cost lives. American citizens in New Orleans actually died of thirst due to FEMA being unprepared and unable to even get people drinking water, but “Brownie” was doing a great job. That’s why “…the GOP paid for” his lack of skills and leadership. No, it wasn’t unfair.

      1. If Natacha’s emotionally upset, something good must be happening.

        1. Your nonsensical statement fails to address the merits of his statements. But I understand, because there’s really logical answer, is there?

          this is to “hide the ball” susie

          1. Your nonsensical statement fails to address the merits of his statements.

            She’s just venting. I don’t get paid to listen to her. That’s her shrink’s job.

      2. Natacha – New Orleans problem is that is dike is run by a separate board and each is responsible for the repair and maintenance of that dike. People died because people in New Orleans failed at their job.

        1. Please try to stay on track with the topic: regardless of how the flooding happened, it was FEMA”s lack of preparedness, lack of organization and inability to respond timely that resulted in American citizens actually dying of thirst. Your Republican President actually praised the head of FEMA for doing a good job. That’s the basis of just some of the criticism against him. His lack of judgment and leadership caused people to die–some in a war he started over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and some dying of thirst because of the lack of organization of FEMA. The “EM” of FEMA stands for “emergency management”, and they couldn’t manage a blown fuse. Karen claimed that criticism of Bush was “unfair”. I say it wasn’t.

          1. Natacha – didn’t the Gov. of FL hesitate in calling for a national emergency? Didn’t she waste precious time?

                1. Paul the Soros crowd is trying the same Katrina game plan they used on W to get Trump. W did have some blame, 3rd in line after coke snortin’ Ray Nagin, now in Federal Prison for bribery and the bimbo Dem governor, Kathleen Blanco. Nagin and Blanco were in charge of the evacuation before the hurricane and failed MISERABLY, W pissed on his leg trying to clean up Nagin and Blanco’s mess.

    2. Karen S – Obama taught me the way. If your enemy brings a knife, you bring a gun. It is the Chicago way. He used every agency he had to destroy the Tea Party and I do not see this as over broad. I see them talking to potential terrorists.

      1. None of you will ever stop harboring your beloved grudges. Each and every last one of you will remain hopelessly mired in a wallow of self-pity for the remainder of your days on Earth, however many they should be. For that, also, is how fate works. And I’m one, too.

        1. Diane – Obama taught me the way. That is a fact of life, Jack. Has nothing to do with self-pity. Self-pity is not in my vocabulary, maybe yours, but not mine. I’m a Stoic, we don’t do self-pity.

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