A former FBI official who played a key role in the “Russiagate” investigation into former President Donald Trump pled guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to provide illegal services to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, according to a press release from the U.S. Southern District of New York Attorney’s Office.
Charles McGonigal, a former special agent and chief of counterintelligence at the FBI’s New York field office, pled guilty to money laundering and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), in connection to services provided to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch, according to the release issued Tuesday. McGonigal was a key player in spearheading the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe – informally referred to as “Russiagate” – in 2016, which was the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, the New York Post reported.
“Charles McGonigal, by his own admission, betrayed his oath and actively concealed his illicit work at the bidding of a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Matthew G. Olsen, said, according to the release. “Today’s plea shows the Department of Justice’s resolve to pursue and dismantle the illegal networks that Russian oligarchs use to try to escape the reach of our sanctions and evade our laws.” (RELATED: Former FBI Agent Confirms Biden Transition Team Was Tipped Off To Hunter Biden Interview, Transcript Shows)
NOW — Former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office, Charles McGonigal, heads into Manhattan federal court. McGonigal is charged with violating U.S. sanctions by trying to get Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska off the sanctions list. pic.twitter.com/CBNTIFr9OE
— Truthseeker (@Xx17965797N) August 15, 2023
McGonigal was one of the first FBI agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane operation, which would ultimately become a 22-month and $32 million probe that found no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, according to the New York Post. McGonigal was also involved in a “classified defensive briefing” given to the lawyers of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2015; the briefing was later called a “clear double standard by the Department of Justice,” by Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020.
McGonigal previously pled not guilty after being arrested in January on two separate indictments related to his involvement with Deripaska, who was sanctioned for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, CNN reported. Part of the indictment also charged McGonigal for concealing $225,000 of payments from a former employee at an Albanian intelligence agency where he had been a top official decades earlier.
McGonigal told the judge presiding over the case that his “mind is clear” and he is “deeply remorseful” for his crimes, according to CNN.
“I appear before you in this court to take full responsibility as my actions never intended to hurt the United States, the FBI and my family and friends,” McGonigal said during court proceedings on Tuesday, according to CNN. “I understood that the work I was conducted would provide some benefit to Deripaska and under the US law, I was not supposed to provide any service to Deripaska, even indirectly.”
McGonigal is set to be sentenced on December 14.
The FBI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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