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Trump raised prosecuting Clinton with top White House, Justice officials

President Donald Trump on multiple occasions raised with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Matt Whi...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 8:42 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 8:42 AM

President Donald Trump on multiple occasions raised with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Matt Whitaker, who was then-chief of staff to Jeff Sessions, whether the Justice Department was progressing in investigating Hillary Clinton, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The President also wanted his previous White House counsel, Don McGahn, to ask the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton on numerous occasions, but McGahn rebuffed doing that, the source said.

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Anticipating the question about Clinton would be raised, Whitaker came prepared to answer with what Justice was doing on Clinton-related matters, including the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One investigations, the source said. The source added that Whitaker was trying to appease the President, but did not seem to cross any line.

The New York Times first reported on Trump's requests to McGahn to prosecute Clinton, as well as former FBI Director James Comey.

Reached Tuesday by CNN analyst Josh Campbell -- who formerly served as an aide to Comey at the FBI -- the fired director said he was shaking his head at reports the President wanted the Justice Department to investigate him, Campbell said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"This is what had him worried then. This is what he's been so vocal about now and speaking out," Campbell said.

Campbell said Comey noted that he was pleased The New York Times made clear in its story that he had not divulged classified information, a claim Trump and his allies have made.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

In March, then-Attorney General Sessions revealed that Utah's top federal prosecutor, John Huber, was looking into allegations that the FBI abused its powers in surveilling a former Trump campaign adviser, and claims that more should have been done to investigate Clinton's ties to a Russian nuclear energy agency, which have not been proven.

And in January, CNN reported that the US attorney and FBI in Arkansas were investigating allegations of corruption related to the Clinton Foundation. The FBI and federal prosecutors are looking into whether donors to the foundation were improperly promised policy favors or special access to Clinton while she was secretary of state in exchange for donations to the charity's coffers, as well as whether tax-exempt funds were misused, the official said. A spokesman for Clinton dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

William Burck, a lawyer for McGahn, issued a statement following the Times report that said the President hadn't ordered prosecutions of Clinton or Comey.

"Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president. Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality. Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey," Burck said.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

When Trump requested the investigations in April, McGahn told the President that he could not compel the Justice Department to prosecute people, and even requesting an investigation could be a step too far, the Times reported. McGahn went on to have White House lawyers draft a memo listing the consequences of such a demand for Trump, according to the report.

Trump has long called for legal action against Clinton, his Democratic rival in 2016, over her private email use as secretary of state, and he has alleged that Comey, who he fired as FBI director last year, leaked classified information.

McGahn left the White House in October, a long-planned departure that followed a tenure marked in part by friction with the President.

Whitaker, meanwhile, was tapped as acting attorney general over Rosenstein after Trump fired Sessions earlier this month. Democrats have decried Whitaker's appointment in part because of his previous comments criticizing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which he now supervises.

Trump said during his campaign that he would seek to use the presidency to direct an investigation against Clinton, and since taking office he has repeatedly railed against the Justice Department for the special counsel investigation's focus on his associates rather than investigations into his political opponents.

Trump engaged in a war of words with Sessions several months before the Alabama Republican was fired, and the President said on Twitter that Sessions should investigate Democrats and "Comey lies."

CNN reported prior to McGahn's official exit that Trump was unnerved about the extent of McGahn's personal cooperation with Mueller's investigation -- cooperation that included some 30 hours of interviews with Mueller's team.

But McGahn's time in the White House also saw him in a central role shaping the federal judiciary and helping to shepherd Trump's picks for the Supreme Court through the Senate.

This story has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds249840
DeSoto159416
Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
Rankin93412
Harrison91211
Lauderdale90979
Forrest86942
Scott77115
Jackson62216
Copiah60215
Washington5849
Leake57819
Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
Leflore48751
Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
Covington3565
Panola3506
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
Noxubee2638
Jasper2626
Winston2616
Pearl River25432
Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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