President Donald Trump urged the Department of Justice not to let Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and her former information technology aide, Imran Awan, “off the hook” Thursday.
The president’s tweet came amid reports Awan is set to strike a plea deal.
“Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook,” Trump tweeted Thursday.
His tweet continued: “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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
The Pakistani-born Awan worked for Schultz and dozens of other House Democrats, including members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Homeland Security. Awan was indicted in 2017 on four counts, including federal bank fraud and conspiracy, as he tried to flee the country.
But a Tuesday court filing revealed that Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, would face a plea agreement hearing on July 3 as they seek a deal, Fox News reported Wednesday.
“The parties are currently exploring a possible resolution of this matter,” prosecutors wrote, according to Fox News. “Therefore, the parties are requesting additional time in which to explore that resolution.”
Christopher J. Gowen, Awan’s attorney, told Fox News in a statement Wednesday that “A plea happens in court … A plea does not happen outside of court. We anticipate that by July 3rd we will either enter a plea or the case will be set for trial.”
Awan found himself at the center of controversy in early 2017, when it came to light that Wasserman Shultz still employed him — even though other lawmakers had ditched him, and his House IT network access had been suspended as he faced a criminal investigation. The congresswoman employed Awan until his arrest in July 2017.
Awan worked for Wasserman Schultz, who formerly chaired the Democratic National Committee (DNC), when WikiLeaks published DNC emails obtained through hacking during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The leaked emails revealed widespread bias against presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and in favor of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz subsequently resigned as DNC chair.
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Former FBI Director James Comey testified in January 2017 that DNC refused to allow FBI investigators access to the hacked servers, but allowed a private company to access the servers and pass information along to investigators.
Trump addressed the controversy May 20 on Twitter, writing, “What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?”
What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
A House employee said that Wasserman Schultz became “frantic, not normal” while “making the rounds” trying to squash the investigation into Awan’s “unauthorized access” to House servers prior to the 2016 presidential election, The Daily Caller reported Wednesday.