WASHINGTON- Former FBI Director James Comey said he authorized the leak of the existence of a memorandum documenting a February meeting with President Donald Trump in which Comey was allegedly asked to drop the Bureau’s investigation into former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“My judgment was that I needed to get that out into the public square,” Comey said Thursday in response to a question from Senate Select Committee On Intelligence member Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Comey said the leak was coordinated through a Columbia Journalism professor and that the reason for the leak was to highlight the need for the appointment of a special prosecutor.
The New York Times in May reported the existence of the memo and several days later Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein under intense bipartisan political pressure appointed former FBI director Robert Muller III as independent counsel in the Trump-Russia probe.
Three days after Comey was fired and four days before The New York Times reported the existence of the memo President Trump Tweeted that Comey should think twice before speaking with the press, as the White House might possess tapes of their interactions.
Comey when asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to comment on Trump’s Tweet said: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Comey conceded to the committee that he believes Trump fired him: “because of the Russia investigation.”
Comey in the past has said that leaks are serious criminal acts.