Judiciary Committee mulls subpoena over Charles McGonigal

The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to subpoena the FBI for information about former New York counterintelligence division head Charles McGonigal, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to flout US sanctions while working with a Russian oligarch.

The panel, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), initially asked the bureau in February for relevant files on McGonigal after he was indicted in the Big Apple for his work with Oleg Deripaska — and in DC for allegedly hiding money paid him by an ex-member of Albania’s intelligence service.

A spokesman for the committee told Business Insider Tuesday that the bureau’s response to the initial request had been inadequate.

“Both McGonigal’s serious misconduct as a senior, high-level FBI official, and the possibility of McGonigal receiving generous plea deals from the Justice Department in both cases, raise significant concerns that the FBI and the Department may be attempting to hide the true extent of McGonigal’s misconduct to avoid further reputational harm to the Bureau,” Jordan wrote in a Tuesday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Rep. Jim Jordan openly questioned whether the FBI has been deliberating slow-walking the Charles McGonigal issue to minimize reputational damage.
Getty Images

McGonigal was one of the first FBI agents to learn that an official with former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign had claimed the Russians had “dirt” on ​then-Democratic presidential candidate ​Hillary Clinton​, triggering an investigation that stretched into the Republican’s presidency.

The former FBI big copped Aug. 15 to a single count of conspiring to launder money and violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Federal prosecutors said McGonigal was also trying to get Deripaska taken off the US sanctions list, where he’d been placed in 2018 in connection to Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Charles McGonigal arrives in Manhattan federal court to plead guilty.
McGonigal’s (center) indictments have sparked bipartisan intrigue given his potential knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries revolving around Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Gregory P. Mango

McGonigal conceded in court that he pocketed over $17,000 while helping Deripaska gather damaging information on a rival — money taken in violation of sanctions, which he allegedly took steps to conceal.

As a result, he could face up to five years behind bars. Sentencing is slated for Dec. 14.

McGonigal has officially pleaded not guilty in the DC case, but is rumored to be eyeing a plea deal there as well.

Charles McGonigal arrives in Manhattan federal court to plead guilty.
McGonigal stands accused of money laundering and sanctions violations during his work for Oleg Deripaska.

On Tuesday, Jordan re-upped his February request for relevant documents as well as a briefing on the matter by Oct. 3.

“If you refuse to voluntarily produce the requested documents and information, the Committee may be forced to consider use of compulsory process,” Jordan added.

In addition to looking at McGonigal’s history with the Trump-Russia investigation, other lawmakers have been interested in work he may have done to probe Clinton.

FBI Director Christopher Wray
Christopher Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee in June.
Rod Lamkey – CNP / MEGA

Back in February, Sen. Sheldon White House (D-RI) argued in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that McGonigal “may have knowledge of or have participated in political activities to damage then-candidate Hillary Clinton and help then-candidate Donald Trump.”

Since taking the reins of the powerful committee, Jordan has clashed with the FBI repeatedly, accusing the bureau of harboring bias against conservatives.

Neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI immediately responded to a request for comment.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Jim Jordan also helms the subcommittee on weaponization of the federal government.
Bonnie Cash/UPI/Shutterstock

Last week, Jordan subpoenaed an FBI agent for testimony about the bureau’s alleged efforts to “censor” content on social media.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is set to grill Garland on a range of hot-button issues such as the Hunter Biden investigation, the legal cases against Trump and the weaponization of government.

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