NYT: Trump Asked McGahn About Ordering DOJ Prosecutions Of Clinton, Comey

President Donald Trump leaves the President’s Room of the Senate at the Capitol after he formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. He is joined by his wife Melania Trump and  and daughter Tiffany Trump. At far right is Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, with White House counsel Donald McGahn, second from right. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump leaves the President's Room of the Senate at the Capitol after he formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in Washington,January 20, 2017. He is joined by... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: President Donald Trump leaves the President's Room of the Senate at the Capitol after he formally signed his cabinet nominations into law, in Washington,January 20, 2017. He is joined by his wife Melania Trump and and daughter Tiffany Trump. At far right is Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, with White House counsel Donald McGahn, second from right. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite - Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

President Donald Trump told since-departed White House counsel Don McGahn that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey last spring, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing two people familiar with the conversation.

McGahn “rebuffed the president,” the Times reported, saying he lacked the authority to order prosecutions. A spokesperson for the former White House counsel told the Times:

“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.”

Per the Times, Trump asked McGahn in their conversation about potentially prosecuting Clinton and Comey “what stopped him from ordering” investigations of the pair. McGahn responded that the move would create a damaging backlash, and followed up with a memo saying as much. The memo outlined potential congressional investigations in Trump’s abuse of power and, potentially, blow back at the ballot box, the Times said.

This isn’t the first report of McGahn refusing Trump’s requests. In the summer of 2017, according to the Times, he told the President he would sooner quit than follow an order to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn later reportedly refused Trump’s request to issue a statement contradicting that very same New York Times report, instead reminding the President that Trump had asked him to fire Mueller.

This post has been updated.

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