White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday beat back James Comey's assertions he was not a leaker in providing contents of a memo he had written about President Donald Trump to a Columbia University law professor to provide to the media.
"We already know that he gave memos to his friend Daniel Richman . . . with the intent that Richmond would leak it to the media and hoping to 'trigger' a special counsel," Conway told CNN's Chris Cuomo.
"All that has happened," she said. "Everything he wanted to happen happened, including the word 'leak.'"
In a CNN Town Hall at College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Comey insisted to Anderson Cooper he did not leak the information to Richman, who later provided it to The New York Times after President Donald Trump fired the FBI director in May 2017.
"I didn't leak memos," Comey said in what soon became a tense exchange with Cooper. "I asked a friend to communicate the substance of one.
"One unclassified memo to the media," he added. "I was a private citizen and not an FBI employee.
"I think of leak as unauthorized disclosure of classified information," Comey said when pressed by Cooper. "That's how I thought about it as FBI director.
"We investigated leaks of unauthorized disclosures."
Conway told Cuomo she was not satisfied with Comey's response, noting "you saw that he was squirming around answering the tough questions.
"Maybe he wasn't expecting that."
However, Conway noted Comey never disclosed to Congress that Richman had worked as "special government employee" under him at the FBI on an unpaid basis.
Richman confirmed his employment Tuesday to Fox News.
Conway hammered Cuomo with the revelation, saying Comey's non-disclosure of Richman's status — from summer 2015 to February 2017 — raised credibility issues with the former director.
She called the disclosure "something that Jim Comey never told anybody under oath up in Congress, never bothered to tell the president, never bothered to write in the book, never bothered to tell anybody.
"It's a very germane fact — and this guy tonight is talking about concealment.
"He was concealing an important fact," Conway argued. "He called him a friend and Columbia professor, as did everybody else in the media.
"You've got to start identifying this guy to who he was: a special government employee at the FBI."
She noted the agency has 35,000 staffers — and Comey decided Richman should be working there, and he later decided to leak the Trump information to him versus other workers.
"Jim Comey decided that his friend should be there and decided that this friend, who just happened to be there at the FBI during the Clinton investigation and after Trump won during the election and during the Trump transition and into the Trump administration until February of 2017," Conway said.
"The only thing we ever heard about this guy previously is that he was his friend."
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