Sources familiar with the matter claim POTUS wanted the Department of Justice to indict his 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, as well as former FBI director James Comey. When he brought this up to then-White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump was allegedly informed that he didn't have the authority to make such an order, and if he chose to request an investigation, he risked serious political consequences—the most serious of which was impeachment.
Shortly after Trump floated this idea, White House lawyers reportedly drafted a memo that explained why pursuing the prosecutions would be seen as an abuse of power and a breach of the DOJ's independence. But it seems Trump hasn't completely back off. Sources said the president has continued to privately speak about the matter and has considered "the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey." Trump has reportedly expressed his disappointment in FBI director Christopher Wray—who replaced Comey in 2017—for failing to "aggressively" investigate Clinton.
A White House spokesman declined the Times' request for comment. A FBI spokesperson declined to comment on Trump's criticism of Wray.
"Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president," McGahn's lawyer William A. Burck told the Times. "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."
The outlet points out that it's unclear what specific charges Trump was allegedly pursuing against his political enemies. During the 2016 presidential race, Trump regularly called on law enforcement to "lock her up!" following revelations that Clinton had used a private email server as secretary of state. He also criticized the former first lady's involvement in the controversial "Uranium One" deal.
As far as the accusations against Comey, the president has consistently accused the former FBI director of leaking classified information to the media; however, he has not provided any evidence to support his allegations.