New York Post

Hypocrite was key to Russiagate

- Bruce Golding

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.”

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