As an FBI Official Is Sentenced for Working Directly With Russia, News Outlets Erase One Key Detail

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AP Photo/Seth Wenig

As Joe Cunningham reported this morning, a prominent FBI official, Charles McGonigal, was sentenced to a prison stint. He was convicted of conspiracy and bribery involving a Russian oligarch who is known for being an extremely close associate of Vladamir Putin. While this is being widely reported on today there is a very notable omission seen from the various major news outlets covering this sentencing.

To set the stage correctly we need to flash back briefly over what we have been told over the past seven or so years. With the rise of Donald Trump in Republican circles, one of the earliest complaints leveled against him was how he was/would be a puppet of Vlad Putin. This accusation quickly mushroomed into what was regarded as the Russian Collusion Story (Hoax). This narrative had become so ingrained in the press that any mere mention of Russia would generate a Pavlovian response from reporters and pundits.

One of the earliest nuggets that became a cornerstone of this years-long media conspiracy was the Steele Dossier, as we recall. This spurious document was heavily leaned upon for years, but then it became notably avoided as the storyline wore on, and by the time the Mueller Report was finally issued, delivering a mostly neutered level of accusations, the Steele Dossier had been dismissed as an inconsequential piece of source material.

I bring all this up because we see distinct parallels taking place with the saga of Charles McGonigal. He was the FBI agent who received the initial report from an Australian diplomat that George Papadopoulos was receiving oppo-research on Hillary Clinton. This, plus the Steele Dossier, launched the incessant Russian Collusion storyline. Then, following his retirement in 2018, it was McGonigal himself who was found to be in bed with the Russians, as he was found to have pocketed more than $225,000 from the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.

McGonigal was charged in January, then this fall he reached a plea deal, admitting guilt to the charges in order to have a number of others dropped. With today’s sentence, he will be serving four years in the Grey Bar Inn, but what is notable is how this result is getting reported. Somehow, the very press corps that could not withhold from blaring any perceived connection to the Russians when it concerned Trump or Republicans does not see it as important to note McGonigal was a central figure in the collusion campaign.

In looking over the reports today, this is a glaring blind spot. Reuters saw no need to include how Chaz was involved. The Washington Post saw no need to mention either Donald Trump or the collusion investigation McGonigal kicked off. Equally muted is CBS News. ABC News was also silent on this notable dose of history. Well, I am confident the Associated Press, venerated news syndicate that it is, will surely include…uh, nope. The AP even gave a mention of McGonigal’s career, including the very years he sparked the Trump-Russia investigation within his agency, yet felt it was not important to include this detail.

  • McGonigal was special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018. He supervised investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska.

This is a firm display of the press turning its back on yet another component of what has been the most blatant case of media malpractice seen in a decade. Their avoidance of McGonigal’s involvement mirrors the denial today of the existence of the Steele Dossier. For years, they hinged their reporting that Trump allegedly sought dirt on Hillary — criminally supplied by Russian interests — all on a document that was itself the very epitome of what they were alleging.

Christopher Steele, at the behest of Fusion GPS and funded by the Hillary Clinton legal team, compiled the contents of his dossier with intel fed to him by Russian players. Then, they cravenly used this document to charge Trump with the very actions that were employed to create the document. And the media played right along with the subterfuge. Now, as they are facing another key player in this monumental scam who is guilty of what they accuse, they are collectively turning their backs.

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