NYT: Trump wanted to order prosecution of Clinton, Comey

President Trump told the top White House lawyer in April that he wanted to have him order federal prosecutions of Hillary Clinton and James Comey, according to two sources familiar with the conversation, The New York Times reports.

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 9:45 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 10:17 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.

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

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
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