Comey: 'I Don't Think' IG Will Find FBI Acted Inappropriately, 'But If They Do, They Do'

By Susan Jones | May 10, 2019 | 6:02 AM EDT

Former FBI Director James Comey (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( - Former FBI Director James Comey is not running for president in 2020, but nevertheless, he got a town hall of his very own on CNN Thursday night.

Comey discussed his firing two years ago by President Trump, admitting he was "numb," when he found out," because I didn't expect to be fired." He said nothing in the Mueller report surprised him; he said the report "simply confirmed" that he was "telling the truth"; he said he's "proud" of the way the FBI conducted itself in the Trump-Russia probe; and he said "it sure looks like" President Trump had criminal intent to obstruct justice.


Comey also defended the FBI's actions in the Trump-Russia investigation, saying, "[W]e acted in a responsible, limited, and constrained way. I'm proud of the way we conducted ourselves."

Both Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department inspector general are looking into the origins of the FBI investigation. CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Comey, "Are you confident you did everything by the book, and that the FBI, the people around you, did everything by the book?"

"Yes," Comey responded. "No doubt in my mind. But that doesn't mean I'm against review of it. That's totally fine."

Cooper asked Comey, "So you think the inspector general will find nothing inappropriate?"

"I don't think so," Comey said. "At least not that I know of. But if they do, they do. And they should be transparent about it."

Cooper told Comey, "CNN has spoken to people within the FBI who say that they have concerns that the inspector general could find something and that they are bracing for what may be uncovered."

"Again, I'm a big believer in the truth," Comey said. "If the truth is there was something concerning, then let's hear it. I don't know of anything like that."

Cooper also asked Comey if it was an "extreme step" to send an undercover investigator to meet with George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in London.

"No, it's a reasonable -- that was the guy, Papadopoulos, who was the subject of the information we got from the Australians, that he had talked to the Russians," Comey said.

He said he doesn't recall signing off on sending the investigator: "I don't remember talking about that particular step with my team. I knew they were trying to see if they could check it out. That's a totally normal step -- see if you can get somebody close to the person and see if they'll confirm what we heard from the Australians."

Comey told Cooper he was involved in the investigation "the way the director should be involved -- briefed on it on a regular basis, but the director never runs an investigation. But they kept me closely informed, because I had told them this is important, I want it kept very close hold, but do what you need to do under our authorities to figure out whether there's something--"

Cooper interrupted: "So you're saying you're not sure if you knew they were sending somebody undercover to talk to Papadopoulos?"

"Well, I don't want to confirm. I want to leave it to the FBI to confirm what investigative steps they took. That news article wasn't, I don't think, based on an official release. So I don't want to comment on particular steps. But in general, they would tell me we're following through to try and understand whether there's evidence to establish this."

President Donald Trump apparently watched at least some of Comey's town hall, tweeting afterwards, "James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history. He brought the FBI down, almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED, but the FBI will regain greatness because of the great men & women who work there!"

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