James Comey faces questions at CNN town hall
The CNN town hall with former FBI Director James Comey has concluded, but reaction and analysis continues on CNN. Watch it live on CNNGo.
James Comey said he has quite a few regrets as FBI director, but none of them are huge.
"I made a bunch of poor personnel decisions as FBI director," he said. "I did something like I carelessly created a rift with Poland by speaking about them in a speech that wasn't about Poland. I did a bunch of other knucklehead things. No huge thing, but probably -- I could tick off about 30 sitting here of those kinds of things."
Former FBI Director James Comey says he will "never" run for office.
"I will not," he said. "I won't. I never will."
"That's not who I am. But you don't have to run for office to be part of affecting change in this country," he added, and said he instead hopes to "facilitate this conversation" by traveling and speaking to students, and others who will have him.
"There are ways to be useful without running for office."
A first-time voter said that while she was excited to vote for the first time in 2016, this "first true taste of American politicking" has many rethinking civic engagement.
James Comey begged them not to turn away.
"Don't withdraw. We need your voices. We need your minds, your hearts. We need your passion. You are what is going to grow in the wake of this forest fire," he said.
"Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, become involved. Not just vote, but participate in the conversation to make sure the values of this country are preserved and protected."
Former FBI chief James Comey was a Republican in the 1980s, but not anymore.
"I've been embarrassed and ashamed by the way the Republican party has abandoned one of the two things that led me to consider myself a Republican in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president," he said.
"I was attracted by the notion that character matters and values matter most of all. That's where you start in evaluating a person, an entity or a country. What are their values? That's nonnegotiable. And second, strong national defense, which I'm still passionate about."
Comey said Republicans must ask themselves whether the party still holds those values.
He also said that Republicans on Capitol Hill are failing the "grandchild question," which is, "What will I tell my grandchildren?"
Asked if student-led movements would lead to gun reforms, James Comey said he doesn't know, but he's optimistic young people will prevail under the Trump presidency. He then gave a striking metaphor about what he thinks Trump will do to this country.
"I think of Donald Trump's presidency as a forest fire that will do a lot of damage to values above our policy differences," he said. "But forest fires -- the reason I chose that metaphor -- is they do damage, but things grow in the wake of them that didn't have space or air or water to grow before."
He continued: "I see that in the Parkland kids. I see that in the William Mary kids. I see this in my own kids standing up and speaking. And I hope any will inspire all of us and maybe shame the adults in this nation to get involved and not become numb to things that are critical to the values of this country."
FBI Director James Comey just recounted his story about a fateful night, while he was a senior in high school, when a serial rapist broke into his home and took him and his brother captive. He escaped with his life, obviously, but it changed him forever.
Watch Comey tell the story:
A student asked James Comey if he felt we were on the brink of a second cold war with Russia.
"I don't know whether I would characterize it that way," Comey responded.
"We are certainly in on many levels conflict with Russia. What they did during the 2016 election was an attack by an adversary nation and if we are not vigilant, it will happen again. And whether you call that a cold war or a hot war, I don't know. But we are in conflict on many levels with the Russian government."
Former FBI Director James Comey said he never wrote memos after talking with former Presidents Bush and Obama.
Comey kept memos of his conservations with President Trump.
The Justice Department released Comey's memos to Congress last week.
Here are some details from the memos:
- Comey wrote how Trump's "serious reservations" about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn.
- Trump frequently brought up leaks to the media and they discussed trying to find the source of the leaks.
- Trump also at least twice brought up the "golden showers thing" and said he was concerned even if there was a small chance his wife had thought it was true.
- President Vladimir Putin allegedly told Trump that Russia had the "most beautiful hookers in the world."