DOJ Defies Trump, Cuts Sweetheart Deal with Central Figure in House IT Scandal
In an extraordinary turn of events, federal prosecutors say Imran Awan is innocent, directly contradicting congressional investigators
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday entered a plea deal with Imran Awan, ringleader of the Pakistani family at the center of the House IT scandal, and in the process defied President Donald Trump and explicitly contradicted congressional investigators who described the group as “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives.”
In a statement to the court, Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors said they “found no evidence that [Imran] illegally removed House data from the House network or from House members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information.”
The prosecutors told the court they would not object if Awan received probation, and they agreed to drop fraud-related charges against his wife. The deal means Awan is free to leave the country and won’t face prosecution in connection with his congressional employment.
The DOJ announcement flew directly in the face of Trump’s June 7, 2018, tweet saying, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a ‘plea deal’ to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”
As part of the deal, Awan agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport in July last year just before boarding a flight home, having wired nearly $300,000 to Pakistan.
Just hours before his arrest, Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) investigative reporter Luke Rosiak had revealed that Awan was the subject of an FBI investigation. Awan was subsequently represented by Chris Gowen, a Washington, D.C., attorney who was a former aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The DOJ prosecutors did not explain how or why they reached a conclusion diametrically opposed to that of the House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and House chief administrative officer Phil Kiko.
In a six-page Feb. 3, 2017, memo labeled “URGENT” and addressed to the House Committee on Administration, Irving and Kiko described, according to Rosiak, “‘numerous and egregious violations of House IT security’ by members of the Awan family, including using Congress members’ usernames and ‘the unauthorized storage of sensitive House information outside the House.'”
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