William & Mary students grill former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey at town hall

James Comey

Comey said it is "important to realize" that the Clinton investigation began via a public referral to the FBI, whereas the investigation into potential coordination between President Donald Trump's associates began as a small counterintelligence probe that did not include Trump.

Comey is set to soon teach an ethics and leadership class at William and Mary, one student asked if he still thinks he's fit to teach that course after the release of the memos.

Comey's depiction of the President is likely to further anger his critics who see a holier-than-thou streak in his character and believe that he is nursing his own substantial ego, even as he goes after Trump.

"So as between bad and catastrophic, no matter where the polls are, you're going to have to always choose bad, and know you're going to get hammered for it, but know you had two choices and you chose the least bad", Comey said at a CNN town hall.

One student asked Comey if he has a nickname for Trump.

Former FBI Director James Comey and his new book, "A Higher Loyalty", have dominated headlines for the past two weeks.

"Coming here and learning about how Comey's actions affected the election, how his interactions with President Trump influenced the electorate, all the different interactions is fascinating to me", said sophomore Carter Trousdale.

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"Before we graduated I tried to talk to him", Comey said. "It is the ballast that gives me comfort, and I hope should give all Americans comfort, but that can be damaged in significant ways".

Comey also addressed the so-called "pee tape", or the raw intelligence in a dossier created by ex-British spy Christopher Steele that the Russian government had taped President Trump watching prostitutes pee on a bed in a hotel in Moscow in 2013.

"I saw Presidents (George W.) Bush and (Barack) Obama both use humor effectively to relax, to put at ease, to try and get to the truth".

He called the idea of a concerted deep state effort "nonsense".

"No matter my concerns about him, I want him to be successful". And Trump, who has showed a knack for helping publications he despises, tweeted that Comey was an "untruthful slime ball".

But Comey argued that the "concern is not unconventional leadership", but maintains that the way the President threatens USA values.

"I'm talking about a culture of commitment to the rule of law and to the values enshrined in our Constitution", he said. The FBI and New York Times had the memos for nearly a year. Some things I watched. "And I'm, 40 years later, ashamed of myself, and it taught me a lot about myself and about people in groups".

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