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FBI Special Agent Who Investigated Trump-Russia Hoax Faces Additional Prison Time

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Former high-ranking FBI official Charles F. McGonigal, who played a key role in the controversial Trump-Russia collusion investigation, has been sentenced to an additional 28 months in federal prison.

The 55-year-old faced consequences for not disclosing $225,000 received from an Albanian businessman linked to the Albanian government.

The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, with FBI Assistant Directors Donald Alway and David Sundberg present. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly imposed the sentence, along with a three-year supervised release post-imprisonment.

McGonigal previously served as Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, overseeing counterintelligence investigations and other duties. In September, he admitted to receiving cash from an individual he traveled internationally with; this person later became an FBI informant in a case overseen by McGonigal.

The court acknowledged that his actions obstructed justice significantly during his tenure as Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office from August 2017 until his retirement in September 2018.

“During this time, McGonigal concealed from the FBI the nature of his relationship with a former foreign security officer and businessperson who had ongoing business interests in foreign countries and before foreign governments. Specifically, McGonigal hid from the FBI that he received at least $225,000 in cash from the individual and traveled abroad with him and met with foreign nationals, in-part to advance their private business interests,” according to the DOJ.

Following his prior conviction for charges unrelated to the current case, in December McGonigal was sentenced to 50 months in prison and fined $40,000 in the Southern District of New York for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and engaging in money laundering.

McGonigal was arrested on January 21, 2023 at J.F.K. International Airport in New York for conspiring with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the U.S. government.

His guilty plea in August came after an investigation revealed his involvement in providing services to Deripaska and attempting to have him removed from the U.S. sanctions list in 2019.

“After his tenure as a high-level FBI official who supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, Charles McGonigal has now admitted that he agreed to evade U.S. sanctions by providing services to one of those oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

“This office will continue to hold to account those who violate U.S. sanctions for their own financial benefit.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams highlighted the gravity of McGonigal’s betrayal, noting, “Charles McGonigal violated the trust his country placed in him by using his high-level position at the FBI to prepare for his future in business. Once he left public service, he jeopardized our national security by providing services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon who acts as Vladimir Putin’s agent.  Today’s sentence is a reminder that anyone who violates United States sanctions — particularly those in whom this country has placed its trust — will pay a heavy penalty.”

Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch denounced McGonigal’s actions as a blatant betrayal.

“Charles McGonigal’s conduct can be summed up in one word – betrayal. He betrayed everything he once swore to protect. Today’s sentencing is a message to all, no matter who they are, the FBI does not tolerate those who choose to jeopardize US National Security. Prioritizing personal gains over one’s oath to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

As per the Department of Justice, the 28-month sentence announced on Friday is not a reduction but an addition, to be served consecutively with the previous 50-month term ordered by the Southern District of New York. The former FBI agent will now serve a total of over six years in federal prison.

McGonigal’s case has garnered attention not just for his recent criminal behavior but also for his prior involvement with the FBI.

He played a significant role in initiating the investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election, which was ultimately disproven.

This inquiry, aimed at uncovering purported attempts to influence the election, became one of the most controversial investigations of a sitting U.S. president.

During his tenure as head of cybercrimes at the FBI’s Washington headquarters, McGonigal was among the first officials to receive intelligence about claims made by George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, regarding Russian possession of compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

Investigative journalists Michael Schellenberger and Matt Taibbi assert that rather than originating from foreign intelligence sources, the Russian Collusion narrative was intentionally orchestrated by the CIA under Obama’s administration.

“It came from within the US government’s intelligence community, including the CIA, that they asked the so-called Five Eyes nations’ intelligence agencies—that’s the other English-speaking nations, including Britain and Australia—to spy on 26 Trump associates, or at least they had a list of the 26 associates that were identified.”

“This is new information. Some people have theorized about this and speculated about it. We feel very confident that our sources were in a position to know and are very credible in this report. And it’s obviously a very serious allegation because this is illegal spying and it’s illegal election interference,” Schellenberger added.

ICYMI: House Intel Chair Mike Turner Warns of ‘Serious National Security Threat’ to U.S. in Cryptic Statement

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Joe Messina

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