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Trump tried —and failed — to get Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton: reports

White House Counsel Don McGahn to leave
WATCH: White House counsel Don McGahn to leave

U.S. President Donald Trump told his previous White House lawyer Don McGahn that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton, but he was rebuffed, according to reports.

McGahn responded to Trump’s request by writing a memo to the president outlining the consequences that he’d face if he pushed the traditionally independent Justice Department to investigate a political rival, the New York Times reported.

READ MORE: Giuliani says Trump submitted written answers to Robert Mueller’s questions

The consequences included the Justice Department refusing to comply as well as public outcry and congressional probes that could culminate in Congress beginning impeachment proceedings over potential abuse of power.

Trump raised the matter with McGahn on numerous occasions, according to CNN.

McGahn, who has reportedly been cooperating extensively with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and collusion with the Trump campaign, departed his position as White House counsel in October.

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WATCH: Trump calls Don McGahn a ‘good guy’ after announcing departure from White House

Trump calls Don McGahn a ‘good guy’ after announcing departure from White House
Trump calls Don McGahn a ‘good guy’ after announcing departure from White House

It wasn’t clear what charges Trump wanted the Justice Department to pursue against Clinton, although he has repeatedly assailed the former Democratic presidential candidate over her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, as well as her role in the Obama administration’s move to let a Russian company buy a uranium mining firm.

READ MORE: Ivanka Trump used private email account to conduct government business

The New York Times reported that Trump’s lawyers also asked Justice Department prosecutors to probe former FBI director James Comey over his role in the Clinton email investigation, and that law enforcement officials refused those requests.

Comey is a witness for the prosecution in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials

The White House and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— With files from Reuters