An important figure in the FBI was at the heart of the Trump-Russia probe.
Now he’s facing five criminal charges for his own Russian connections.
This key player in the Democrats’ attacks against Trump could end up in jail for these crimes.
Charles McGonigal, former Special Agent in charge of the New York FBI Counterintelligence Division, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly accepting money from US sanctioned Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
The irony is that McGonigal played a key part in kicking off the entire “Russiagate” probe against former President Donald Trump.
First was the FBI investigation dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” – and that eventually led to the appointment of Robert Mueller – who spent $32 million dollars of taxpayer money to investigate baseless accusations against Trump.
Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2020, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa said he received a July 2016 email from McGonigal that “contained essentially that reporting, which then served as the basis for the opening of the case [against Trump].”
Now McGonigal – along with Russian interpreter for the courts Sergey Shestakov – have been charged with money laundering and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”).
As reported by ABC News, “Both face money laundering charges in addition to charges for violating sanctions. Each of four counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.”
The DOJ alleges McGonigal began accepting money from Deripaska a year before he retired from the FBI in 2018.
In exchange for the money, McGonigal spearheaded an investigation into a rival oligarch of Deripaska’s, as well as lobbied to have the sanctions against Deripaska lifted.
McGonigal and Shestakov then laundered the money through various shell companies.
In a statement regarding the matter, FBI Assistant Director Michael Driscoll said:
“The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors,”
“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence.”
Driscoll continued, “As alleged, Mr. McGonigal and Mr. Shestakov, both U.S. citizens, acted on behalf of Deripaska and fraudulently used a U.S. entity to obscure their activity in violation of U.S. sanctions. After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful. There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.”
McGonigal is one of the highest-ranking former FBI officials to ever face criminal charges in US history.
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