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Why James Comey leaked information to press

Posted at 12:22 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 12:46:18-04

WASHINGTON — Fired FBI Director James Comey asked Columbia law professor Daniel C. Richman to leak the content of memos documenting his interactions with President Donald Trump, he testified Thursday.

Comey, who wrote memos after his meetings with Trump, had shared the documents with fellow FBI officials. Asked during the Senate intelligence hearing Thursday if he shared the memos elsewhere, Comey explained he asked a “good friend” who is a “professor at Columbia law school” be an intermediary with the press.

“The President tweeted on Friday, after I got fired, that I better hope there’s not tapes,” Comey said. “I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn’t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation, there might be a tape.”

Trump’s tweet on May 12, read: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

Comey added to the committee, “And my judgment was I needed to get that out into the public square. So I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.

“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel, so I asked a close friend of mine to do it,” he said.

Richman, a close Comey adviser and former federal prosecutor, confirmed to CNN in an email that he was the friend Comey was referencing in his testimony.

The reporter who wrote the first “Comey memo” story, Michael Schmidt of The New York Times, told CNN’s Brian Stelter, “I’m going to decline to comment” on any interactions with Richman.

Schmidt’s story was attributed to “two people who read the memo.”