Former FBI Director James Comey refused to comment Monday when a reporter asked whether he leaked classified information to prompt the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"My understanding is that when you shared your memos with your legal team, that there was a follow-up for a classified containment operation by the bureau. Was there a spill of classified information when you shared those memos?" Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge asked Comey.
"I'm not going to talk about something like that," Comey responded.
"Well that's important to talk about, whether classified information was mishandled," Herridge followed up.
"Whether you think it is or not, I'm not going to talk about it one way or another," Comey said, before taking a question from another reporter.
The exchange came after Comey finished his second closed-door interview with House lawmakers, during which he answered questions about the Russia and Hillary Clinton email investigations.
Last summer, Comey admitted in open testimony that he gave memos detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump as FBI chief to a friend, who then gave them to the New York Times, Townhall noted.
Comey said that he asked his friend, Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman, to share the memos "because [he] thought that it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel." The Times reported that the memos revealed that Trump asked the FBI to drop its investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn while Comey was still director of the agency.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that "at least two of the memos that [Comey] gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified." The reported continued:
Those memos formed the basis for Mr. Comey's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, in which he accused the president of trying to shut down an investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president has denied trying to thwart the probe.
Mr. Comey's tactics were successful—special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed shortly after he was fired as FBI director. Mr. Comey's memos are now part of the wide-ranging probe being conducted by Mr. Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he fired Mr. Comey last year, allegations that Mr. Trump denies. Russia has denied interfering in the election.