All The People Who Trump Tried To Make The Feds Investigate For Being Mean To Him

WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Trump still denies that he los... WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates on September 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Trump still denies that he lost the election against President Joe Biden and has encouraged his supporters to doubt the election process. Trump has backed Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

While in office, former President Trump had a lot of grievances.

He was wronged, by so many people. They were very unfair to him — many people were saying this. Some say it was among the greatest injustices in the history of this country.


But with recent reporting that Trump tried to have the DOJ target senior Democrats, it’s worth recalling the list of people that the former president reportedly tried to have put behind bars or otherwise harmed during his time in office.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of people that Trump wanted to have prosecuted, jailed, or otherwise gone after for either criticizing him, or for having been perceived to have slighted him.

John Kerry

According to a forthcoming book from Trump-era U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman that was obtained by the New York Times, Trump was enraged by efforts from former Secretary of State John Kerry to stop him from undoing the Iran anti-nuclear proliferation deal, signed under President Obama.

Trump pushed Berman, the former prosecutor writes, to investigate Kerry. At one point, an investigation was opened into whether Kerry violated the Logan Act — an 18th century statute which prohibits private citizens from unofficially negotiating with foreign governments.

“The conduct that had annoyed the president was now a priority of the Department of Justice,” Berman wrote.

Hillary Clinton

This one was part of Trump’s platform — lock her up.

But alas, Trump never made good on that campaign promise. As the New York Times reported in 2018, however, it was not for lack of trying.

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn purportedly recalled Trump telling him that he wanted the DOJ to prosecute Clinton. It was an odd request, in part because it was addressed to the wrong person: as McGahn reportedly explained, the White House counsel does not have authority over the DOJ.

James Comey

That same round of requests also included former FBI Director Jim Comey, the New York Times reported.

Comey had aroused Trump’s ire by criticizing him, and by memorializing their interactions in a memo.

That document was eventually leaked to the New York Times, and described how Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn.

Gen. Stan McChrystal

Per a recent memoir from former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper obtained by TPM, Trump was enraged by a misleading report which suggested that retired Gen. Stan McChrystal had signed on with a tech firm to “track down” Trump supporters.

“So disloyal,” Trump reportedly said.

He convened Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley with a plan: could they reactivate Gen. McChrystal, setting the stage to court-martial him?

Adm. William McRaven

The same book says that Trump wanted to add William McRaven — a retired admiral who had written in 2019 that the American form of government was “under attack” from Trump.

After considering McChrystal, Trump also wanted to recall McRaven into active duty — only to court martial him for his criticism.

The plan was shot down. Milley purportedly told Trump that he would call the generals and tell them to dial down their criticism. McChrystal told TPM in May that he never got a call.

Greg Craig

Trump’s direct involvement in this one is unclear, though potentially interesting.

Berman, the former Manhattan U.S. Attorney, wrote about an interaction he had during his office’s investigation of former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig.

It came in September 2018, weeks before the midterm elections that year, and weeks after Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty.

Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Edward O’Callaghan purportedly asked Berman to “even things out” by filing charges against Craig before Election Day.

Berman did not do that. Charges were eventually filed against Craig by the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office in April.

“President Obama’s top White House lawyer, Gregory B. Craig, was indicted yesterday on very serious charges,” Trump tweeted in April 2019.

Craig was found not guilty.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: