President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation. The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution.
President Trump pushed his lawyers in recent days to try once again to reach an agreement with the special counsel’s office about his sitting for an interview, flouting their advice that he should not answer investigators’ questions, three people briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.
President Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation, John Dowd, resigned on Thursday as his strategy for cooperating with the inquiry grew increasingly at odds with Mr. Trump’s desire for a more aggressive posture.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization in recent weeks to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president.
President Trump gave firm instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s associates had helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.
Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, are said to have terminated an information-sharing agreement with the president’s legal team. Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials. Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.
Investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently searched the Northern Virginia home of President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for tax documents and foreign banking records, a sign that the inquiry into Mr. Manafort has broadened, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The day after President Trump asked James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Mr. Comey confronted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he did not want to be left alone again with the president, according to current and former law enforcement officials.
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.