Top FBI Official In Russiagate Probe Under Scrutiny For Alleged Russian Ties: REPORT

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Trevor Schakohl Legal Reporter
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Federal prosecutors started scrutinizing a former FBI field office counterintelligence chief for ties with Russia and other foreign governments after his involvement in the probe of the 2016 Trump campaign’s Russian contacts, according to Insider.

A grand jury assembled in late 2021 began probing Charles McGonigal, and authorities seemingly investigated his business dealings with an aide to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, based on court documents the outlet obtained. Washington insiders have been known to seek private benefit through public service ties, but an FBI official becoming part of a grand-jury investigation is highly unusual, according to Insider.

Deripaska did business with Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, according to CNBC. Investigators were given 2016 emails suggesting Manafort allegedly attempted to clear significant debt to Deripaska with his campaign position, offering “private meetings” about the campaign’s progress.

“If McGonigal is mixed up in any way shape or form with Deripaska, that strikes me as unseemly, to put it politely,” Tim Weiner, author of “Enemies: A History of The FBI,” told Insider.

FBI headquarters’ cybercrimes section leader, McGonigal heard early on in 2016 about a Trump campaign official saying the Russians had negative Hillary Clinton-related information, which led to the Operation Crossfire Hurricane investigation, according to Insider. He was announced as the next leader of the New York FBI field office’s counterintelligence division that October.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska addresses media representatives during a press conference in Moscow on June 28, 2022. - Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska said that it was a "colossal mistake" for Russia to destroy Ukraine with its military operation, a rare rebuke from a member of Russia's elite. (Photo by Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP) (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska addresses media representatives during a press conference in Moscow on June 28, 2022. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images

A November subpoena asked for records related to McGonigal and the Spectrum Risk Solutions consulting firm, Insider reported.

Purported former Soviet foreign ministry official Sergey Shestakov claimed to have earned over $30,000 for referring Deripaska’s aide to Spectrum Risk Solutions and New York law firm Kobre & Kim, which he said McGonigal helped facilitate, according to a different late-2021 court filing the outlet cited. The law firm specializes in representing clients probed on “fraud and misconduct” suspicion. (RELATED: Mike Lindell Says Phone Taken By FBI While At Hardees Drive-Thru In Colorado)

People can be imprisoned and fined for not disclosing lobbying, public relations and other actions under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to Insider.

The outlet said it was not clear whether the grand jury’s investigation is primarily focused on McGonigal, and the Justice Department did not tell the outlet whether it was still active. He retired in 2018.

“The FBI has no comment,” its national press office told the Daily Caller News Foundation. McGonigal did not return the DCNF’s request for comment.

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