James Comey says President Donald Trump is ‘just making stuff up’ when he accuses the former FBI director of breaking the law by releasing his memos.
When asked whether he agrees with the president’s view that he broke the law by publicizing contents of their private conversations, Comey said: ‘I don’t, but that won’t surprise you.’
‘In fact, I think he’s just making stuff up.’
Comey appeared Wednesday night on a CNN live town hall event with host Anderson Cooper.
During the town hall, Comey said he believes Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, would have made a better president.
He also ruled out a career in politics and said that there is no such thing as a ‘deep state.’
James Comey says President Donald Trump is ‘just making stuff up’ when he accuses the former FBI director of breaking the law by releasing his memos
Trump and his allies have accused Comey of being a ‘leaker’ and insisting that the fired FBI director ‘broke the law’ because the memos of his conversations with the president are ‘classified.’
‘Additionally, he totally made up many of the things he said I said, and he is already a proven liar and leaker. Where are Memos on Clinton, Lynch & others?’ Trump continued.
Trump also quoted a Friday report from The Wall Street Journal last week which said two of the four memos that Comey shared with a friend and which were made public last year were classified.
The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog is investigating Comey for leaking the memos, the newspaper reported.
Comey told the CNN town hall that he chose to classify some of the memos that related to the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
‘The details matter because the facts matter, and should matter even to the President,’ Comey said.
‘Some of those memos I decided should be classified. Four others, I wrote them and was highly confident they should not be classified. Those four I kept a copy at the FBI and a copy at my personal safe at home.’
Comey said that he gave memos to members of his legal team as well as a friend.
‘After I was fired, I put together a legal team of three people,’ Comey said.
‘One of whom was professor Dan Richman at Columbia University. After I had asked him to give this information to the media, I separately gave my legal team four memos, which were unclassified.’
Associates of Comey have been questioned by the Justice Department’s inspector general about which memos they received from the former FBI director.
During the town hall, Comey also offered his view that Clinton would have made a better president than Trump because of her ‘values.’
Clinton is ‘respectful of the norms and traditions that I am so worried about being eroded today,’ Comey said.
The question of whether Comey broke the law has riled up conservatives who say the former FBI director was out to get Trump.
Trump doubled down on his insistence that former FBI Director James Comey (right) broke the law by leaking memos about their interactions
Trump has seized on the inspector general’s review of the Comey memos to cast doubt as to the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
After the president fired the FBI director, Mueller was appointed in response to the Comey memos.
Trump, suggesting that the probe undermined the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into his campaign and administration’s alleged links with Russia, said: ‘James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council[sic]?
‘Therefore, the Special Council [sic] was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?’
The leaked memos contained Comey’s contemporaneous claim that in February, Trump asked him to end an investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who resigned after lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian officials.
Trump tweeted late Friday: ‘James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council[sic]? Therefore, the Special Council [sic] was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?’
Comey has said that he leaked the memos after he was fired by Trump he felt a duty ‘as a private citizen’ to ensure that a Special Counsel be named to continue the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Mueller is seen in the image above
Two of the memos that Comey wrote and then gave to a friend from outside of the government contained classified information, according to the Journal.
In one memo, Comey redacted the parts that he knew to be classified before he gave them to a friend.
But the second memo is said to have information that was later upgraded to ‘confidential’ – the lowest level of classification.
Those memos are now being reviewed by the inspector general of the Department of Justice.
Comey has said that he leaked the memos after he was fired by Trump as head of the FBI because he felt a duty ‘as a private citizen’ to ensure that a Special Counsel be named to continue the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
Comey gave four memos to Richman, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at Columbia Law School.
Of the four memos, three were not classified at the time and one did have classified information that Comey himself redacted.
An FBI director has the power to determine what information is regarded as classified and what is not.
But once Comey became a private citizen, the FBI is legally authorized to determine what counts as classified information.
Sometime after Comey’s firing, the FBI upgraded the classification of the memos.
Besides Richman, the inspector general has also interviewed other associates of Comey’s from outside of the FBI who may have also received copies of memos, CNN is reporting late Friday.
Trump’s tweet late Friday appears to be an attempt by the president to use the new review by the inspector general as a rationale for firing Mueller.
Trump has denied reports that he privately refers to Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) as ‘Mr Magoo’, a bumbling elderly myopic cartoon character (left)
Trump also denied calling Rod Rosenstein (right) Mister Peepers (left) a meek high school teacher who often inadvertently landed himself in embarrassing situations
Trump tweeted late Thursday that the newly released memos written by fired FBI Director James Comey vindicate him
Last Wednesday, Trump refused to say whether he planned to fire Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as he’s been reportedly wanting to do.
Rosenstein is overseeing the Russia investigation after his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself.
On Saturday, Trump denied reports in the Washington Post that he privately calls Sessions ‘Mr Magoo’ and Rosenstein ‘Mister Peepers’.
Mr Magoo is a bumbling elderly myopic cartoon character. Mister Peepers was a character from a 1950s sitcom, a meek high school teacher who often inadvertently landed himself in embarrassing situations.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that the newly released memos written by Comey vindicate him.
‘James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION,’ the president tweeted.
‘Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?’
It has been alleged that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 elections – allegations that are being investigated by Mueller.
Investigators want to know if the president’s dismissal of Comey was aimed at derailing the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections – an act that could be construed as obstruction of justice.
Trump has denied there was any collusion with Russia.