Donald Trump
Donald TrumpYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

US President Donald Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and former FBI director James B. Comey, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald McGahn, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power, according to the report. To underscore his point, McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

It is unclear whether Trump read McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Clinton and Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Trump about the issue.

The president has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the president’s criticism of Wray, whom he appointed last year after firing Comey.

“Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president,” said McGahn’s lawyer, William A. 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.”