Former White House Counsel Don McGahn apparently had a very hard time convincing President Trump to leave Hillary Clinton and James Comey alone.
This spring, Trump told McGahn he "wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute" the former secretary of state and former FBI director, two sources tell The New York Times. McGahn immediately shut the president down, reportedly saying he didn't have the power to order a prosecution. Trump could try investigating his political rivals, McGahn said, but that could "prompt accusations of abuse of power" and potential impeachment charges, the Times writes. McGahn then reportedly made White House lawyers wrap up all that advice in an official memo.
But McGahn's words didn't seem to sink in. Trump has "continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel" to investigate Comey and Clinton, the Times writes. The president had also reportedly hoped his FBI Director Chris Wray would take action against Clinton, but Wray let him down.
It's unclear what Trump exactly would like to prosecute Comey and Clinton for. But the matter displays how Trump "views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies," the Times writes — something that could become particularly relevant with the appointment of loyalist Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general.
The White House declined to comment to the Times. McGahn's lawyer would not comment on any legal advice relayed to the president, but said to McGahn's knowledge, "the president never ... ordered that anyone prosecute" Clinton or Comey. Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk