(HorizonPost.com) – The New York Times reported last week that special counsel John Durham relied on Russian intelligence memos to access emails from an aide to billionaire George Soros.
According to the report, the memos, given to the CIA by a Dutch spy agency, featured Russian intelligence analysis on alleged conversations involving American victims of Russian cyberattacks. Durham used these memos as justification to use grand jury powers to gain access to the emails from Leonard Benardo, an executive vice president of the Soros-backed Open Society Foundations.
Reportedly, Durham wanted the emails to establish the authenticity of the Russian memos which detailed Hillary Clinton’s purported plans to target Donald Trump in 2016 by tying him to the public release of the DNC emails that were allegedly acquired by Russian hackers and supplied to WikiLeaks.
Durham initially asked a federal judge for an order granting him access to information about the emails of Leonard Benardo, the Times reported.
Buried within the Russian intelligence memos were accusations that Bernardo and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz had discussed how then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had pledged to prevent an inquiry into Hillary’s emails from getting carried away.
However, a judge twice rejected Durham’s request to access Bernardo’s emails, concluding that the Russian memos were a weak justification to infringe on Bernardo’s right to privacy.
Durham opted to circumvent the judge’s decision by leaning on grand jury powers to pursue the emails. Bernardo and the Open Society Foundations reportedly complied with the demands rather than challenging Durham in court. However, there is no evidence that he subsequently cited the emails in the cases his investigation later pursued, the Times reported.
The New York Times does not say whether Durham subpoenaed Bernardo or if he simply threatened to subpoena him. Bernado denied that he communicated with Wasserman Schultz as alleged in the Russian memos.
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