Political News

James Comey on Trump's assertion that releasing memos was illegal: 'I think he's just making stuff up'

Posted April 24, 2018 9:51 a.m. EDT
Updated April 25, 2018 8:19 p.m. EDT

— James Comey defended releasing his memos detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump Wednesday in a CNN town hall, adding that he doesn't believe he broke the law.

"I don't, but that won't surprise you," he said when asked whether there's any credence to Trump's claim that Comey releasing the memos broke the law.

"I don't," Comey added. "In fact, I think he's just making stuff up."

The live town hall hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday comes amid the former FBI director's media blitz to promote his new book and a series of high-profile clashes with Trump.

The event took place less than a week after the Justice Department provided Congress with memos Comey wrote documenting his interactions with Trump. The President seized on the release of information to attack Comey, claiming that the memos were classified and belong to the government.

The hour-long town hall was held at William & Mary, Comey's alma mater, in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Student Assembly at William & Mary co-hosted the event.

Trump and Comey have traded barbs in recent weeks after the former FBI director, who Trump abruptly fired last year, re-emerged on the national stage earlier this month as part of a publicity tour for his book, "A Higher Loyalty."

During the media blitz, Comey has called Trump "morally unfit" to be President and said that "it's possible" that the Russians could have compromising information that could be used against him. Comey acknowledged in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper last week, however, that he has not seen any evidence that would prove the President is compromised by Russia.

Trump and his allies, meanwhile, have painted Comey as an untrustworthy source of information who lacks credibility. The President has also tried to use the newly-released Comey memos to discredit the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Trump has repeatedly referred to as a "witch hunt."

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted, "James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a Special Council? Therefore, the Special council was established based on an illegal act? Really, does everybody know what that means?"

CNN has previously reported that the Justice Department inspector general is reviewing Comey's handling of the memos.