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

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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.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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