The House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), has launched an investigation into the conduct of former FBI special agent Charles McGonigal. The former FBI official, who was in charge of the agency’s counterintelligence division, was arrested in January and charged with money laundering, violating U.S. sanctions, and other counts related to his relationship with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jordan and Gaetz asked the agency to hand over any documents and communications related to McGonigal within two weeks. The Republicans also demand personnel records and information on the FBI’s process for assessing and responding to the investigation into McGonigal and how the FBI intends to mitigate the national security risks posed by his actions. The lawmakers also want Wray to arrange a briefing with lawmakers to discuss the FBI’s investigation of McGonigal.
BURIED LEDE: Former FBI Official Charles McGonigal was colluding while active to set up a post-career influence-peddling operation 👇
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 25, 2023
Jordan and Gaetz noted in the letter that McGonigal was involved in investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, and that his indictment casts doubt on the FBI’s counterintelligence work while he was there.
McGonigal has been charged with falsification of records and documents, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, and making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for each count. He has also been charged with violating U.S. sanctions and laundering money for Deripaska.
According to court documents, McGonigal allegedly took undisclosed money transfers from Deripaska in exchange for investigating a rival oligarch. After supervising investigations into Deripaska and other Russian oligarchs, he reportedly took these actions. He also allegedly reviewed a classified list of Russian oligarchs connected to the Kremlin who were considered for sanctions.
Jordan and Gaetz also pointed out that Deripaska was the same Russian oligarch working with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier that served as the basis for bogus Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spying warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The letter also argues that the indictment of McGonigal, one of the highest-ranking FBI officials ever charged with a crime, points out the pervasive organizational problems within the FBI. It also emphasizes that the FBI must be held accountable and the public must have confidence in the integrity of law enforcement.
The Judiciary Committee’s investigation into McGonigal is part of the effort by the newly elected GOP-controlled House to investigate allegations of politicization and bias at the FBI. As a result, lawmakers and the public will closely watch the FBI’s handling of the case, including its response to the committee’s request for information.