Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he personally directed the leak to a reporter of a memo he kept regarding that detailed a conversation he had with President Trump.

Comey admitted that leak after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, asked him why he kept those memos, and then asked if he ever shared any of them outside the Department of Justice.

Comey replied by saying that after Trump hinted on Twitter that he might have tapes of discussions between the two men, he thought it made sense to release his memo, and admitted he was hoping it would create the need for special counsel.

"My judgment was, I needed to get that out into the public square, and so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter," Comey said. "Didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to, because I thought, that might prompt the appointment of the special counsel."

The New York Times ended up getting the story about Comey's memo, which said Trump had encouraged Comey to drop the FBI's investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

In earlier testimony, Comey had said he wrote the memos specifically not to contain any classified information, so that they might be more easily used.

Comey said he gave the memo to a friend of his who is a professor of law at Columbia Law School.

Daniel C. Richman confirmed to the Washington Examiner that he was Comey's friend at Columbia. He has been referred to in the New York Times as a "longtime confidant and friend of Mr. Comey's," and his bio at Columbia's website lists him as an "adviser to FBI Director James B. Comey."