TPM Reader RC has some thoughts and questions about the Charles McGonigal case. McGonigal is the former FBI counterintelligence agent arrested a week ago. Knowledgeable people I’ve spoken to tell me that McGonigal was much less involved in the Trump-Russia probe than many people on the outside seem to think. But like others, I’m very interested in what’s come out of Mattathias Schwartz’s reporting at Business Insider.
McGonigal’s girlfriend, who may have been the one who tipped the feds off to McGonigal’s corruption, also happens to be so close to Rudy Giuliani that Rudy put her up for some time at his home while she was recuperating from a burn? I’m not sure what that means beyond them both being part of the social and networking scene around the FBI’s NYC field office, but that and other details in Schwartz’s reporting really got my attention.
From TPM Reader RC …
Something I thought your crew might be interested in, from Mattathias Schwartz’s Business Insider article last fall about the McGonigal investigation, which included a copy of a subpoena in the case.
Marcy Wheeler suggests (convincingly to me) that Guerriero, the girlfriend, was the person who got the subpoena, and therefore (the? / a?) source for the piece.
Anyway, here’s the detail:
“According to an email reviewed by Insider, McGonigal used his official FBI email account to try to arrange a meeting between Rama and an American firm the prime minister was thinking about hiring for an anti-corruption initiative.”
Who could have shown that email to Schwartz, and what was their motive for doing so?
McGonigal had it, of course. And the FBI. I can’t really see either of them as the source. Guerriero? Reviewing her Twitter, she doesn’t seem like someone who stepped up into the big leagues. She seems exactly like a pretty sales rep for a firm that sells to law enforcement. Could a bitter Guerriero have hacked McGonigal’s account? Maybe his personal account, but hacking his FBI account would seem a bridge too far.
So Neza? Is the “American firm” his? Is he a source for Schwartz? Or is there some other source, maybe close to Rama?
A question this raises for me – how did Schwartz get to Guerriero? The implication is that she came forward as an embittered jilted former girlfriend. But she was jilted in late 2018, and this is late summer/fall 2022. And, it’s not clear how her story (that is, her story in Sept. 2021 – just the subpoena) hurts McGonigal any more than the indictment would.
Schwartz had just written a relatively friendly profile of Manafort. Did he pursue some Manafort/Deripaska threads and arrive at a source close to Deripaska who had a story to get out? Maybe pushing the line that McGonigal was anti-Russian (encouraging the Albanians not to go with a Russian oil firm), to get ahead of the storyline that he is pro-Russian? (As suggested by his post-FBI income – from Deripaska, Kushner-ally Brookfield and Trump Tower tenant Doronin/Aman.)