Former FBI Director James Comey defended his memos Wednesday in a CNN town hall, saying that he was confident their release didn’t break the law.
“I don’t, but that won’t surprise you,” he said when asked whether there’s any credence to President Donald Trump’s claim that Comey releasing the memos broke the law. “I don’t. In fact, I think he’s just making stuff up,” Comey added.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted the live town hall which comes amid Comey’s media blitz to promote his new book.
“The details matter because the facts matter, and should matter even to the President,” Comey explained, adding that he had chosen to classify some memos but not all of them. “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.”
The former FBI director also confirmed that the memos have been shared with other close associates outside the bureau. Comey told the host that after he was fired, he shared the memos with his legal team.
“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.”
The event took place less than a week after the Justice Department provided Congress with memos Comey wrote documenting his interactions with Trump. Following the release of the information, Comey was attacked by the President who claimed the memos were classified and belonged to the government.
During the event, the former FBI director spoke on various topics, including his interactions with Trump, his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and whether he has any plans to someday run for office.
At one point, Cooper and Comey also discussed the fact that Comey wrote in his memos that Trump told him he did not stay overnight in Moscow around the time of the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.
However, Cooper pointed out, “flight records, social media posts, congressional testimony, also photographs prove that he actually did spend the night in Moscow.” He then asked Comey whether he thought it was important President Trump lied to him.
“It’s always significant when someone lies to you, especially about something you’re not asking about. It tends to reflect a consciousness of guilt,” Comey said. “I don’t know what was in his head. I don’t know whether he was intentionally misstating a fact to me.”
Among other things, the former FBI director said Rudy Giuliani’s addition to Trump’s team won’t help speed up the end of the special counsel’s probe and that he didn’t believe Trump was “morally fit.”