Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) intervened in a Pakistani land dispute on behalf of her then-IT aide, Imran Awan, before pressuring House officials to kill an investigation into his hacking of House servers, according to a new Daily Caller report.
Awan, who worked as an IT aide for roughly two-thirds of House Democrats, was found to have gained “unauthorized access” to House servers in July 2016. The finding came just three days after Wikileaks released the first batch of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, at a time when Wasserman Schultz led the DNC.
Unlike most of her Democratic colleagues, who promptly fired Awan upon learning of the investigation, Wasserman Schultz became “frantic, not normal” and began “making the rounds” to pressure House officials to kill the probe, according to the Caller‘s sources. She reportedly attacked House chief administrative officer Phil Kiko, calling him a “f***ing Islamophobe.”
Chief Administrative Officer Kiko denied that the conversation with Debbie Wasserman Schultz described to the Daily Caller ever took place in a statement provided National Review.
“At no point was I threatened or accused of any prejudice, whatsoever, by any individual over the CAO’s corrective actions in response to the activities of five shared employees subject to a pending investigation. Any assertion that I was called an ‘Islamophobe’ is false. Furthermore, I was never informed of any ‘land deal’ involving any of the individuals under investigation as falsely reported.”
Wasserman Schultz reportedly enjoyed a close relationship with Awan. The Caller‘s House sources claimed she had told Kiko she invited the entire Awan family to her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, and that she “helped [Awan] with a land deal.”
Awan’s father was suddenly spared from criminal corruption charges he was facing in connection with that land deal, after political pressure led police to target his accusers instead, according to a 2009 article in a local Pakistani publication, titled “Influential expat shields father from long arm of law.”
In defending her refusal to fire Awan for months after his wrongdoing was exposed, Wasserman Schultz claimed her “office was provided no evidence to indicate that laws had been broken, which over time, raised troubling concerns about due process, fair treatment and potential ethnic and religious profiling.”
Despite the congresswoman’s claim, a source told the Caller that House investigators briefed her extensively on the evidence implicating Awan, and members of his family who also worked for House Democrats, in funneling data off of House servers.
Awan was arrested as he was preparing to board a flight to Pakistan shortly before he was charged with four counts of conspiracy in August. His wife, who was added to Wasserman Schultz’s payroll after the investigation commenced, remained in her employ until five days after she fled to Pakistan with $12,000 in August.
In April 2017, Awan left a laptop in a Capitol Hill phone booth with a note that read “attorney client privilege.” Wasserman Schultz tried to prevent police from accessing the laptop, informing the Capitol Police chief in a recorded exchange that he would face “consequences” if he refused to return it. When he refused, she reportedly considered making a push to restructure the Capitol Police board.
Wasserman Schultz’s office did not respond to a request for comment.