New York Post
Hypocrite was key to Russiagate
The former FBI official busted Monday for allegedly taking illegal foreign payments played a key role in the “Russiagate” probe of former President Donald Trump (inset).
Charles McGonigal was among the first FBI officials to learn that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had told an Australian diplomat that Russia had “political dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa told the Senate Judiciary Committee in
2020 that he received a
July 2016 email from McGonigal — then chief of the bureau’s Cyber-Counterintelligence Coordination Section in Washington, DC — which “contained essentially that reporting, which then served as the basis for the opening of the case.”
The FBI investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and a 22month, $32 million probe that found no evidence, as Mueller wrote, “that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
McGonigal, 54, was also involved in the investigation of another Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. “Our Team is currently talking to CP re Russia,” McGonigal, heading the FBI’s New York counterintelligence division, wrote on March 16, 2017, according to Justice Department records. Page was wiretapped by the FBI based on a warrant application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act asserting he was “the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government.”
The application — which also cited claims from the discredited “Steele dossier” — was granted and renewed three times, leading the Justice Department’s inspector general to issue a 2019 report that called it a “clear abuse of the FISA process.”