On the heels of President Trump submitting written answers to questions posed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, and amid speculation that Trump associates are likely to be indicted soon for coordinating the release of stolen DNC emails with WikiLeaks, new reports say that Trump wanted the Justice Department to launch probes of Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.
The president asked former White House lawyer Don McGahn to encourage the Justice Department to investigate the two, but McGahn rebuffed those entreaties, warning the president that pursuing that course could raise the spectre of obstruction of justice, according to a report in the New York Times.
Trump, according to a CNN report, also raised the prospect of actions against Clinton and Comey. Trump originally said he fired Comey for the way Clinton’s email scandal was handled but later implied in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that his frustrations over the Russian probe were a contributing factor. After Comey’s departure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein began to oversee the special counsel’s investigation, followed by acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who recently stepped in to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions upon his firing.
McGahn, who spent many hours speaking with the special counsel as part of Mueller’s ongoing probe, has so far been mum on the reports.
“Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president. Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality,” his lawyer William Burck said in a statement. “Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey.”