- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Former President Donald Trump didn’t mince words Tuesday, tearing into a retired FBI counterintelligence official who spearheaded the Trump-Russia probe and was arrested this week on charges of conspiring with a Russian oligarch.

“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!” Mr. Trump posted on his Truth Social platform.

Charles McGonigal, who had been the special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, is accused of taking secret payments from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in exchange for investigating a rival oligarch, according to court documents.

In 2016, Mr. McGonigal was serving as chief of the cybercrime section at FBI headquarters. In that position, he was one of the first FBI officials to learn that a Trump campaign official bragged that Russian officials had dirt on Hillary Clinton, sparking the Trump-Russia collusion investigation known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

Mr. McGonigal, 54, is one of the highest-ranking FBI officials ever charged with a crime. He faces one count of violating U.S. sanctions, one count of money laundering and two conspiracy counts.

Appearing in a Manhattan federal court Monday, Mr. McGonigal pleaded not guilty to the four-count indictment. The judge released him on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond plus travel restrictions and prohibitions on contacting anyone else associated with the case.

SEE ALSO: Trump says he had ‘obligation’ to overturn Georgia election, as judge weighs grand jury report

A separate indictment by the U.S. attorney in Washington unsealed Monday accuses Mr. McGonigal of falsifying records and documents. It said he made false statements to conceal a $225,000 payment from an individual with business interests in Europe whom he knew was an employee of a foreign intelligence service.

The nine-count indictment said that while Mr. McGonigal worked for the FBI, he sought to conceal from the bureau his ties to the unidentified former intelligence official, even while traveling abroad with the person and meeting with foreign nationals.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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