Former FBI Director James Comey revealed Thursday how details of his one-on-one meetings with President Donald Trump were leaked to the media.
Days after Trump fired him, the president tweeted that Comey “better hope there are no tapes” of their conversations. Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he decided after that to get his own version of events out into "the public square."
He then told a friend who is a law professor at Columbia University to share his memo about his conversation with Trump with a reporter. That information was reported soon afterward in the New York Times.
The professor, Daniel Richman, confirmed to CNN that he gave the information to the Times.
Comey said he hoped the leak would spur the appointment of a special counsel in the investigation, which did eventually happen.
Asked why he chose to release the information through a friend instead of doing it himself, he responded, “The media was camping at the end of my driveway…I worried it would be like feeding the seagulls at the beach.”
Comey explained that the memos were his personal recollections, they were not classified, and he felt he had a right to share them.
"Is this a joke," Donald Trump Jr. tweeted in response.
Earlier in his testimony, Comey explained that he maintained memos on his interactions with the president because he feared Trump would lie about them.
Comey told senators he later turned all of his copies of the memos over to the special counsel, Bob Mueller.