Comey associate denies leaked memos contained classified information

PHOTO: Daniel Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York, testifies before a senate committee on Sept. 18, 2007, in Washington.PlayStephanie Kuykendal/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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A close friend to fired FBI Director James Comey denied today that the memos Comey gave him detailing his discussions with President Donald Trump contained any classified information.

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"No [Comey] memos given to me had any classified markings," Professor Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan who is currently a professor at Columbia Law School, told ABC News.

Richman, whose Columbia biography says he is an adviser to Comey, said that in May -- shortly after his friend and colleague was fired by Trump -- he read portions of one memo to a New York Times reporter.

The statement contradicts claims made by Trump this morning, when he sent a tweet accusing Comey of breaking the law by leaking classified information: "James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!"

That memo was among those Comey wrote after a private conversation with Trump in which Comey says the president asked him to stop the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser amid questions about incomplete accounts of his contacts with Russian officials. Comey recently testified that Trump told the FBI director that he hoped he would find a way of "letting Flynn go.”

Richman said in June that he had turned over all “relevant materials” to investigators, but The Hill reported today that some of Comey's memos contained classified information at the "confidential" or "secret" level and suggested those could have been among the notes he gave to Richman to leak to the news media in order to force the appointment of a special counsel.

Days after The New York Times first revealed the existence of the Comey memos, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to independently investigate Russian active measures to influence the 2016 election, including the possibility that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian agents to damage their Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Richman insisted, however, that the disclosure was limited to a single memo that did not contain classified information.

"The substance of one memo I read to the Times,” Richman told ABC News. “And there were no classified markings on it.”