Shortly after his dismissal as head of the FBI, James Comey authorized “a close friend” to leak the contents of his memos to the press in order to prompt a special counsel investigation.
The memo, written contemporaneously, documented Comey’s Oval Office meeting with President Trump during which the president allegedly asked him to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. “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.”
The New York Times first reported the memos on May 16. The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel two days later.
Comey characterized the leaker as a close friend who is a professor at Columbia Law School. The former director is known to be friends with Daniel C. Richman, a Columbia professor and former federal prosecutor who served as chief appellate attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.