Donald Trump infamously -- and falsely -- accused Barack Obama's administration of wiretapping him during the 2016 campaign, but a new book reveals that his own Department of Justice actually considered doing it.
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig's new book, Untouchable, reports that prosecutors in the Southern District of New York briefly considered asking a court for a warrant to wiretap Trump's advisers to strengthen their case against Michael Cohen, but then-acting U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss quickly shot down that proposal because the surveillance could potentially record the president's conversations.
“The team understood that such a wiretap might yield evidence of conversations involving Trump himself,” Honig wrote. “If granted, the wiretap would have been a historic first. No sitting president, or former president, has ever been captured speaking on a court-ordered wiretap.”
Federal prosecutors gathered enough evidence against Trump in the Stormy Daniels case to describe him as a co-conspirator with his lawyer Cohen, but the Department of Justice intervened and he was instead described in the indictment as "Individual-1," and DOJ guidelines prevented SDNY from even considering charges against a sitting president.
RELATED: Questions raised about former US attorney who knew the DOJ was protecting Trump
Before they indicted Cohen, SDNY prosecutors met with Trump attorney Joanna Hendon, who argued the indictment should not involve the president because he could not be charged himself, and therefore had no venue available to defend himself and clear his name.
That's the same reason DOJ officials removed details about Trump's involvement in the hush money scheme -- which Honig said gave him two layers of protection.
“We can’t indict him because he’s president," Honig wrote about the DOJ's reasoning, "and we can’t name him as a co-conspirator because we can’t indict him.”