President Trump wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey but was persuaded not to, according to a bombshell report in the New York Times, which cites "two people familiar with the conversation." The sources say then-White House counsel Donald McGahn told Trump he didn't have the authority to order the investigation—and that if he requested it, he would be accused of abuse of power. The Times' sources say McGahn asked White House lawyers to prepare a document for Trump outlining the possible consequences of having the Justice Department investigate Clinton and the former FBI director, including impeachment.
Trump hasn't let the matter drop and is still talking about appointing a special counsel to investigate Clinton and Comey, the sources say. A lawyer for McGahn—who left the administration last month—said he wasn't going to comment on legal advice given to the president. The president never, to McGahn's knowledge, "ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey," attorney William A. Burck said. The Law & Crime blog calls this a "non-denial denial," noting that McGahn isn't saying Trump never wanted to order the prosecution. The blog also notes that McGahn has reportedly been cooperating with Robert Mueller's investigation, and the NYT reports he could be the "finishing touch" if the special counsel is pursuing an obstruction of justice case. (Trump's lawyers called Comey "Machiavellian" and "dishonest" in a secret memo to Mueller.)