Donald Trump’s “Pakistani Mystery Man” Turns Out to Be an Ordinary IT Guy

Earlier today the DC office of the US Attorney concluded a plea agreement with a guy named Imran Awan. Awan agreed to plead guilty to making a false statement on a loan application, for which he’ll probably get probation and pay a modest fine. Oddly, though, the plea agreement also includes this:

That’s peculiar. Why are prosecutors going out of their way to explain that Awan didn’t steal a Democratic Caucus server; didn’t destroy any House equipment; and didn’t hack any classified information? Probably because of this:

And this:

That’s our president lobbying his own Justice Department for the prosecution of a man who did nothing wrong but nonetheless found himself in the middle of yet another stupid conservative conspiracy firestorm. Awan (the “Pakistani mystery man”) supposedly moved terabytes of information off a Democratic server and smashed a bunch of hard drives while working as an IT specialist in the office of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, something that conservative lawmakers found deeply troubling. Trump then took it a step further and claimed that the whole thing was a massive scandal related to the Clinton emails and should be vigorously prosecuted.

In reality, Awan was an ordinary IT guy who was guilty only of taking out a home equity loan and then sending the money to his father in Pakistan, who was gravely ill at the time. That’s it. But the president of the United States went after him publicly for no reason except that it was politically useful as a cudgel against other people. He knew nothing about Awan and couldn’t have cared less.

Congratulations, America. This is your chief law enforcement officer at work.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate