Ex-FBI head, pivotal in Trump ‘Russiagate’ hoax, indicted for allegedly colluding with Russia

It’s often said that whatever the left is accusing conservatives of doing, they are likely doing themselves, and in an example of “you literally can’t make this up,” an FBI agent pivotal in launching the “Russiagate” probe against former President Donald Trump was arrested Saturday for allegedly colluding with Russia.

(Video: Fox News)

According to two unsealed indictments, 54-year-old Charles McGonigal was arrested over the weekend before walking out on a $500,000 bond Monday with a litany of charges connecting him to foreign entities during and after his time with the FBI. Fox News host Sean Hannity summed it up on his program juxtaposed against the witch hunt against Trump that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had continued to peddle.

“I hope the congenital liar Adam Schiff is hanging on to his seat because someone was just arrested for colluding with Russia but it wasn’t Donald Trump, or someone from his campaign, or the White House or Adam Schiff himself when he was pranked by Russians talking about compromising materials,” the host said.

“Instead, it was a man named Charles McGonigal…he was a high-ranking FBI official who worked with the FBI’s Trump-Russia collusion investigation for years. The whole hoax he was there. You literally can’t make this up. McGonigal is now accused of taking secret payments from a powerful Russian oligarch in exchange for political favors, including an investigation into a rival oligarch. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

The retired agent was said to have violated US sanctions by working for a Russian billionaire and ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Oleg Deripaska, after retiring from the agency in 2018. Additionally, he was accused of taking $225,000 in bribes from a former Albanian intelligence agent while in charge of the FBI’s New York field office where he ran the agency’s Counterintelligence Division.

What’s more, as The New York Post reported, McGonigal “was among the first FBI officials to learn that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russia had ‘political dirt’ on Clinton.”

When speaking with Senate Judiciary Committee staffers in 2020, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa named McGonigal as the sender of a July 2016 email that “contained essentially that reporting, which then served as the basis for the opening of the case.”

The subsequent investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” resulted in the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and years of “Russia, Russia, Russia,” as Trump would put it. In fact, the former president said exactly that as he reacted to the news on Truth Social Monday and wrote, “The FBI guy after me for the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, long before my Election as President, was just arrested for taking money from Russia, Russia, Russia. May he Rot In Hell!”

McGonigal was also the top FBI official listed on an Oct. 22, 2015, memo regarding a “classified defensive briefing” given to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign lawyers that, according to the Post, discussed “attempts by an unidentified foreign government to influence the candidate through ‘lobbying efforts and campaign contributions.'”

FBI Director Christopher Wray released an email Monday distancing the agency from McGonigal and said, in par,t that allegations are “entirely inconsistent with what I see from the men and women of the FBI who demonstrate every day through their actions that they’re worthy of the public’s trust.”

In addition to the former agent’s arrest, an interpreter, Sergey Shestakov was also arrested Saturday. The indictment alleged that McGonigal had used his influence to get Shestakov’s daughter an internship with the NYPD’s counterterrorism and intelligence units and that he told someone within the police department, “I have an interest in her father for a number of reasons.”

McGonigal was also believed to have leveraged his authority at the FBI to open an investigation about criminal lobbying where he used his Albanian contact as a confidential source. That contact had benefitted from the FBI agent meeting with the Albanian prime minister and urging the leader to award an oil field drilling license to a Russian company, according to the Justice Department.

Kevin Haggerty


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