- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2023

The Senate Judiciary Committee will press Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday about the investigations overseen by former top FBI official Charles McGonigal, a player in the bureau’s Trump-Russia probe who was arrested last month on criminal charges of colluding with Russia.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said the shocking allegations against Mr. McGonigal cast a cloud over all the FBI investigations in which he was involved, including the Trump-Russia collusion investigation.

“These allegations are extremely disturbing and raise concerns about the potential impact this misconduct may have had on the FBI’s counterintelligence matters and criminal investigations,” Mr. Durbin wrote earlier this year to Mr. Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Mr. McGonigal’s alleged misconduct may have impacted these highly sensitive matters, including whether he compromised sensitive sources, methods and analysis,” Mr. Durbin wrote.

Mr. Garland will have to answer those concerns at Wednesday’s hearing.

Mr. McGonigal is accused of accepting illegal payments from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who has been sanctioned by the United States. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

SEE ALSO: Ex-Russian diplomat charged with FBI agent in collusion case wants gag order on the trial

Upon the announced indictment against Mr. McGonigal, former President Donald Trump declared he was vindicated and trumpeted the irony of it all.

Mr. Trump wrote on Truth Social: “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!”

Former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team declined in 2019 to bring a case that Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign coordinated or colluded with Russia to meddle in the presidential election that year.

Other issues Senate lawmakers are expected to grill Mr. Garland about include the Justice Department’s handling of threats and protests against Supreme Court justices, prosecutions of pro-life protesters and FBI whistleblower claims of corruption and political bias at the executive level of the FBI.

Lawmakers also want information about the investigation of the mishandling of classified documents by Mr. Trump and President Biden.

Mr. Garland has appointed special counsels to spearhead investigations into Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Biden’s handling of classified materials.

More recently, the Justice Department charged eight people under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or the FACE Act, for an incident that happened outside a Michigan abortion clinic in 2020.

The charges come with the Justice Department stepping up its enforcement of the FACE Act following the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Those found guilty of violating the FACE Act face up to 11 years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

Last month, a federal jury cleared Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck of charges from two confrontations in October 2021 with a Planned Parenthood volunteer in Philadelphia.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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