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Sen. Whitehouse Seeks An Independent Briefing on Charles McGonigal (Feb. 22, 2023)

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Page 1 of Sen. Whitehouse Seeks An Independent Briefing on Charles McGonigal (Feb. 22, 2023)

1 February 7, 2023 The Honorable Merrick Garland Attorney General of the United States U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530 Dear Attorney General Garland: I write to you regarding the recent arrest of former FBI counterintelligence chief Charles McGonigal. McGonigal’s arrest raises the potential for a plea and the possibility of a debrief. In the event that debrief occurs, I would like your assurance that someone independent of the FBI will be involved. Because McGonigal was the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office counterintelligence division in the weeks leading to the 2016 election, he may have knowledge of or have participated in political activities to damage then-candidate Hillary Clinton and help then-candidate Donald Trump. For instance, during that time period, Rudy Giuliani announced that a “big surprise” related to Secretary Clinton would be forthcoming from the FBI, hinting he received that information from the New York Field Office.1 The very next day, Director James Comey, reportedly bowing to internal pressure from that office, broke the FBI’s ordinary policy of declining to comment on ongoing matters close to an election and announced the FBI would reopen its investigation into Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server in light of the discovery of emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.2 The situation is even more troubling given that McGonigal was arrested for, among other things, allegedly working with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whom McGonigal was assigned to investigate while working for the FBI.3 Deripaska, a known associate of Trump 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, was sanctioned for interfering with the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump.4 1 Christina Manduley and Eugene Scott, Giuliani changes story on FBI, CNN (Nov. 5, 2016), <a href=”https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/04/politics/rudy-giuliani-hillary-clinton-email-fbi” rel=”nofollow”>https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/04/politics/rudy-giuliani-hillary-clinton-email-fbi</a>. 2 Adam Goldman and Alan Rappeport, Emails in Anthony Weiner Inquiry Jolt Hillary Clinton’s Campaign, N.Y. Times (Oct. 28, 2016), <a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/us/politics/fbi-hillary-clinton-email.html” rel=”nofollow”>https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/us/politics/fbi-hillary-clinton-email.html</a>. 3 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, S.D.N.Y, Former Special Agent In Charge Of The New York FBI Counterintelligence Division Charged With Violating U.S. Sanctions On Russia (Jan. 23, 2023), <a href=”https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-special-agent-charge-new-york-fbi-counterintelligence-division-charged-violating” rel=”nofollow”>https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-special-agent-charge-new-york-fbi-counterintelligence-division-charged-violating</a>. 4 Luc Cohen and Jonathan Stempel, U.S. charges Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska with violating sanctions, Reuters (Sept. 29, 2022), <a href=”https://www.reuters.com/legal/us-unseals-indictment-against-oleg-deripaska-violating-” rel=”nofollow”>https://www.reuters.com/legal/us-unseals-indictment-against-oleg-deripaska-violating-</a> sanctions-2022-09-29/.


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