Comey: I Leaked Memo to 'Prompt the Appointment of a Special Counsel'

June 8, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he leaked a memo of a conversation with President Donald Trump to the press through a friend in order to "prompt the appointment of a special counsel."

Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he described contemporaneous memos of his conversations with Trump, which the press reported on over the past month since his firing. One of the memos concerned a conversation with Trump in which he said the president asked him to back off an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey told Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) he showed copies of his memo to someone outside the Department of Justice. After Trump tweeted the week of Comey's firing that Comey should hope there were no tapes, the former FBI chief said he woke up in the middle of the night and felt he needed to get his memo out "into the public square."

"I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter," Comey said. "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."

Indeed, two days after the New York Times reported on the memo, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel on the Russia investigation by the Justice Department, the Hill reports.

He said the friend was a professor at Columbia Law School, who the Washington Post reported was Dan Richman.