Comey: Memo Leaks Designed to Manipulate Justice Department

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted he leaked memos to a friend, who then leaked certain excerpts of those memos to the media — with the specific intent to provoke the appointment of a special counsel.

The remarkable admission came on Thursday during the former FBI director’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey confirmed during his testimony that he wrote several memos after each one-on-one meeting or phone call with President Donald Trump because, he testified, he felt Trump might not tell the truth about the talks.

After Trump fired Comey on May 9, the now-former director began leaking the memos to a friend at Columbia University, Daniel Richman. The friend then leaked the memos to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

"My judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square ... because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel," said Comey.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel on May 17, just over a week after Comey was fired.

Comey told the Senate panel that Trump's tweets after his firing led him to leak, indirectly, to the media.

He also told Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that he did not write memos after meeting with President Obama and his staff. Nor did he write memos after meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions or other Trump aides.

Comey told the Senate Intel Committee right off the bat that he began writing memos after meeting with Trump because he did not trust Trump, and that he believed Trump would lie about the meetings.

Last Modified: June 8, 2017, 1:00 pm

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