The festering rot at the FBI seems bigger and deeper than we ever guessed

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By Andrea Widburg at

Charles McGonigal, a retired counterintelligence investigator from the FBI’s New York Field Office, was just arrested because he allegedly took substantial sums of money from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire, to get the latter off a U.S. sanctions list. Where this goes beyond the ordinary corruption that periodically crops up among people with too much power, too few morals, and too little accountability is that McGonigal was one of the people investigating Trump over the Russia Hoax, while Deripaska employed Christopher Steele, whose false dossier seeded the Russia Hoax.

Anyone who paid attention during the “hot” years of the Russia Hoax recognizes Deripaska’s name. He was a close ally of Vladimir Putin and, in 2018, the U.S. government sanctioned him for his involvement in Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Specifically with regard to the Russia Hoax, in 2021, Jerry Dunleavy summarized how closely allied Steele and Deripaska were:

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska is known for his ties to President Vladimir Putin, as well as his prior business relationships with Steele and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. [snip]

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s 1,000-page report last year found that “the Russian government coordinates with and directs Deripaska on many of his influence operations.”

Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence, worked for Deripaska in 2016, helping recover millions of dollars the Russian oligarch claimed Manafort had stolen from him. Steele sought help in this anti-Trump research effort from Fusion GPS, and the company hired Steele soon after.

The investigation found “multiple links between Steele and Deripaska” and “indications that Deripaska had early knowledge of Steele’s work.” Steele’s continued relationship with Deripaska “provid[ed] a potential direct channel for Russian influence on the dossier.”

Those “multiple links” played directly into the Russia Hoax:

An associate of Deripaska seemed in indicate earlier in the year that Deripaska fed information to Christopher Steele, and now Deripaska has confirmed that he was paid by Steele to be a dossier source in a recent interview with The Hill’s John Solomon.


Deripaska’s clearest connection to the dossier is in regards to “Source D,” Sergei Millian. “Source D” is who the fictitious “golden showers” story is attributed to.

Millian met with Deripaska at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum between June 16 and 18th in 2016. Two days after the forum ended, Steele wrote a memo sourcing Millian. According to Chuck Ross, “Millian’s appearance at the St. Petersburg expo, photos of which he posted on Facebook, establishes for the first time that he was in Russia at the time the dossier placed him there as a source. And if Millian did indeed discuss Trump at the conference, that means Steele’s direct source was present at the conference.”

You really can’t have the Russia hoax without Deripaska.


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