James Comey Admits He Leaked Memos to Friend to Start Independent Investigation

Former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligen
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Former FBI Director James Comey revealed to the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday that he shared his memos with a friend at Columbia University so that he could share them with the media and prompt a special counsel for the Russia investigation.

He said he took the unusual move “because [he] thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel”:

The revelation not only outed a source who spoke to multiple media outlets as an “associate” of Comey but also raised potential serious questions, according to a legal expert:

It also raised questions as to why he shared them with a friend to leak to the media but did not share them with Congress or others investigating whether the Trump administration ever colluded with Russia.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) asked Comey if he could get those memos back from those who had them so that Congress could take a look at them.

Asked why he did not just talk to the media himself, Comey said, “I was afraid it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.”

Daniel Richman, a professor at the university, is widely believed to be the friend.

A Washington Post reporter tweeted that Richman has confirmed that he was the friend:

According to the Columbia Law School website, Richman is a former official at the Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury. The website also says, “He is currently an adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey.”


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