President Donald Trump said he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute his former presidential opponent Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The Times, citing two people familiar with the conversation, reported that Trump made the remark in the spring to former White House counsel Don McGahn, who told the president that he had no authority to order such action by the DOJ.
To impress his point upon Trump, McGahn had White House lawyers draft a memo outlining the consequences of merely asking the DOJ to investigate his political rivals — including impeachment, the newspaper reported.
"Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president," said McGahn's lawyer, William Burck. "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."
Neither the White House nor the DOJ immediately responded to CNBC's request for comment on the Times' report.
The White House, and Trump himself, have suggested that Comey may have broken the law by leaking memos he wrote after his meetings with Trump.
During one of those meetings in February 2017, Comey said Trump told him, "I hope you can see your way to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," referring to ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was under investigation by the FBI at the time. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go," Trump said, according to Comey.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI.
Trump repeatedly accused Clinton of breaking the law during the 2016 presidential campaign through her use of a private email server while serving in government. He encouraged his supporters to chant "lock her up" at campaign rallies, and during one presidential debate told her directly that if he was in charge of the U.S., "you'd be in jail."