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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 11:00 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 11:17 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 727764

Reported Deaths: 13397
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion995211738
Lake53461965
Allen40457675
St. Joseph35506550
Hamilton35489408
Elkhart28433441
Tippecanoe22359218
Vanderburgh22284396
Porter18668307
Johnson17905377
Hendricks17180315
Clark12930191
Madison12592339
Vigo12431246
Monroe11858170
LaPorte11821210
Delaware10648185
Howard9865216
Kosciusko9378117
Hancock8251140
Bartholomew8052155
Warrick7771155
Floyd7649177
Grant7027174
Wayne7026199
Boone6679101
Morgan6555139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6005111
Dearborn579277
Cass5788105
Henry5688103
Noble558883
Jackson500872
Shelby490296
Lawrence4505120
Harrison434772
Gibson434692
Clinton427053
DeKalb426484
Montgomery423588
Whitley394739
Huntington389080
Steuben383857
Miami380666
Knox371890
Jasper363847
Putnam358860
Wabash353379
Adams340654
Ripley339170
Jefferson328881
White313254
Daviess295899
Wells291081
Decatur284292
Fayette279262
Greene277385
Posey271033
Scott265453
LaGrange265370
Clay259146
Washington240032
Randolph239781
Spencer232031
Jennings229549
Starke215453
Fountain212046
Sullivan211142
Owen198156
Fulton194740
Jay192530
Carroll188320
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush172925
Vermillion168543
Franklin167735
Tipton162445
Parke145916
Blackford134632
Pike133234
Pulaski116445
Newton107234
Brown101641
Crawford99314
Benton98414
Martin88315
Warren81715
Switzerland7848
Union70810
Ohio56411
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1081518

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1256551400
Cuyahoga1117782115
Hamilton798901205
Montgomery513291014
Summit47080945
Lucas42049788
Butler38301584
Stark32242906
Lorain24958481
Warren24262298
Mahoning21511588
Lake20618369
Clermont19747238
Delaware18503133
Licking16410212
Fairfield16160199
Trumbull16019468
Medina15247264
Greene15043244
Clark13970299
Wood13065189
Portage12825203
Allen11626232
Richland11323199
Miami10661217
Muskingum8799133
Wayne8784211
Columbiana8766229
Pickaway8551121
Marion8514135
Tuscarawas8470244
Erie7871154
Hancock6906127
Ross6842155
Ashtabula6792170
Geauga6677148
Scioto6405101
Belmont5873167
Union570348
Lawrence5546102
Jefferson5521151
Huron5427119
Darke5347123
Sandusky5337120
Seneca5275121
Athens518858
Washington5153109
Auglaize489584
Mercer480385
Shelby468893
Knox4483110
Madison435561
Putnam4278100
Fulton421669
Ashland421489
Defiance419297
Crawford3970107
Brown393857
Logan381576
Preble379398
Clinton371263
Ottawa366679
Highland354662
Williams338575
Champaign331458
Guernsey315653
Jackson312151
Perry294850
Morrow284639
Fayette281550
Hardin270664
Henry268466
Coshocton264557
Holmes2593101
Van Wert243363
Adams237752
Pike237534
Gallia235349
Wyandot230855
Hocking215262
Carroll191247
Paulding172540
Meigs144740
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108323
Harrison107637
Vinton82815
Unassigned02
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Rain moves in overnight into Sunday morning and looks to hang around much of the day, likely forcing Mother's Day plans indoors
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