Donald Trump walks behind Hillary Clinton in a 2016 Presidential debate

Donald Trump sought Justice Department prosecutions of his 2016 Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

Last spring Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to order the prosecutions, said “two people familiar with the conversation”. McGahn said Trump had no authority to issue the order and that, while the President could request an investigation, this might bring criticisms of abuse of power.

McGahn instructed White House lawyers write a memorandum for Trump warning of the possibility of impeachment.

McGahn left the White House last month. On November 7, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with a political operative, Matthew Whitaker, who could try and curb the Trump-Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and carry out other Trumpian commands.

Trump has continued private discussions about the possible prosecutions, including the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Clinton and Comey, according to the sources. One said Trump has repeatedly expressed disappointment in FBI Director Christopher Wray, calling him weak for not pursuing an inquiry into the 2016 Democrat nominee.

The sources did not specify the areas where Trump wanted prosecution. However, Trump’s lawyers privately asked the Justice Department last year to investigate Comey for mishandling sensitive government information — a reference to his revelations about interactions with Trump, including the President’s request for his loyalty — and over his role in the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.

McGahn’s lawyer William A. Burck pushed back the report: “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.”