For months now various media outlets have speculated on whether Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) and her now-indicted IT staffer may have colluded to conceal evidence potentially linked to the infamous 'DNC hacks.' While Schultz and the DNC have maintained that the hacks were orchestrated by Russians from a remote location, others have argued that the stolen documents must have been taken by an insider with direct access to DNC servers. Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding the ongoing controversy has only been amplified by the DNC's rather curious refusal to allow the FBI access to their servers after the supposed 'attacks.'
But, according to a new report from The Daily Caller, even if Awan was originally acting to protect/extort DWS, that may have all changed on April 6, 2017 when he seemingly led U.S. Capitol Police directly to her laptop.
A laptop that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has frantically fought to keep prosecutors from examining may have been planted for police to find by her since-indicted staffer, Imran Awan, along with a letter to the U.S. Attorney.
U.S. Capitol Police found the laptop after midnight April 6, 2017, in a tiny room that formerly served as a phone booth in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to a Capitol Police report reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. Alongside the laptop were a Pakistani ID card, copies of Awan’s driver’s license and congressional ID badge, and letters to the U.S. attorney. Police also found notes in a composition notebook marked “attorney-client privilege.”
The laptop had the username “RepDWS,” even though the Florida Democrat and former Democratic National Committee chairman previously said it was Awan’s computer and that she had never even seen it.
The laptop was found on the second floor of the Rayburn building — a place Awan would have had no reason to go because Wasserman Schultz’s office is in the Longworth building and the other members who employed him had fired him.
Of course, DWS's story on the now-infamous laptop has 'evolved' over the months...originally it was apparently her laptop back when she decided to threaten the U.S. Capitol Police Chief but later, after he stood his ground, DWS backtracked saying she had never seen the laptop and it never belonged to her.
Wasserman Schultz used a televised May 18, 2017 congressional hearing on the Capitol Police budget to threaten “consequences” if Chief Matthew Verderosa did not give her the laptop. “If a member loses equipment,” it should be given back, she said.
Verderosa told her the laptop couldn’t be returned because it was tied to a criminal suspect. Wasserman Schultz reiterated that, while Awan was a suspect, the computer should be returned because it is “a member’s … if the member is not under investigation.”
She changed her story two months later, claiming it was Awan’s laptop — bought with taxpayer funds from her office — and she had never seen it. She said she only sought to protect Awan’s rights. “This was not my laptop,” she said August 3. “I have never seen that laptop. I don’t know what’s on the laptop.”
For those who missed DWS threatening the cops for a laptop that apparently didn't even belong to her...it's good entertainment.
Of course, for a conniving person like Awan who has been accused of multiple counts of federal bank fraud, making the simple mistake of accidentally leaving critical evidence out in the open for all to see would seem unlikely.
The circumstances of the laptop’s appearance described in the police report suggest Wasserman Schultz was trying to keep the police from reviewing a laptop that Awan himself may have wanted them to find. The former phone booth room where police found the items is small, and there was no obvious reason to enter it.
Leaving important items there accidentally would seem extremely unlikely, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, former prosecutor, and member of the House Judiciary Committee.
"Imran Awan is a calculating person who made great efforts to cover his tracks, both electronically and physically,” Gohmert told TheDCNF. “Placing that laptop with his personal documents, which may well incriminate him, those he worked for, or both, in the dead of night in a House office building, was a deliberate act by a cunning suspect, and it needs to be investigated.”
And then there is the simple question of why DWS has gone through the trouble of hiring lawyers to fight for a laptop that never belonged to her and could provide valuable evidence against a man who has been charged with a federal crime?
Even though the laptop was allegedly used only by an IT aide who worked for numerous members, Wasserman Schultz has hired an outside counsel, William Pittard, to argue that the laptop not be examined. Pittard argued that the speech and debate clause — which only protects a member’s information directly related to legislative duties — should prevent prosecutors from examining the laptop’s contents, TheDCNF has learned. Pittard did not respond to requests for comment.
Pittard, a partner with KaiserDillon, is the former acting general counsel of the House. Hiring an outside counsel to argue the speech and debate clause on behalf of Wasserman Schultz is highly unusual, because the general counsel of the House offers opinions on speech and debate issues for free.
So, what say you? Giant 'nothing burger' or are the walls closing in on DWS?