FBI Official In Trump-Russia Probe Receives Prison Sentence

On Thursday, a former FBI counterintelligence official involved in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation received a four-year prison sentence for accepting payments from a billionaire Russian oligarch who was subject to U.S. sanctions.

Charles McGonigal received a sentence following his guilty plea to felonies in two separate cases. One case centered on his dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska

McGonigal was arrested in January after working on high-profile national security cases for the bureau for twenty years. He faced charges for accepting payments from Deripaska in return for conducting investigations against one of Deripaska’s Russian adversaries.

Shortly before his FBI retirement, McGonigal was involved in the investigation into alleged ties between former President Donald Trump and Russia. A special counsel report eventually found the claims to be “technically implausible.” 

In 2017, McGonigal took part in the FBI’s investigation into former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Washington Free Beacon reported that McGonigal texted a colleague, stating, “Our Team is currently talking to [Carter Page] re Russia.”

According to the report, McGonigal was among the initial FBI officials briefed on claims that George Papadopoulos had conversations with a foreign diplomat about Hillary Clinton’s emails. 

Because of this, the FBI initiated an investigation into the Trump campaign. The investigation remained a recurring issue for the former president during the entirety of his presidency, but ultimately, no one found any evidence of collusion.

In August, McGonigal pleaded guilty, leading federal prosecutors to aim for a five-year sentence for the disgraced former FBI agent. They argued that he used his influential position to cultivate connections that would serve his interests post-bureau, especially in security consulting. 

While McGonigal’s lawyers acknowledged the potential risk his misconduct posed to U.S. national security, they defended him by highlighting his 22-year career in the FBI, during which he made “profoundly important contributions to our government.”

In a different case, McGonigal faces charges of concealing $225,000 allegedly paid by a former Albanian intelligence official while he was employed by the FBI. He is scheduled for sentencing in this case on February 16. That is only ten days before he is due to serve his prison term for the Russian oligarch case.

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