Comey hammers Trump on CNN for denying Russian interference: 'That tells them they can get away with it!'
Former FBI Director James Comey being interviewed by NBC 'Nightly News' anchor Lester Holt (screengrab)

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed President Donald Trump on Tuesday for his repeated denials that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election on his behalf.

Reacting to criticism of Trump supporters that the entire investigation into potential Trump connections to the Russian interference operation was unwarranted, Comey said it was necessary to understand just how the Russian government operated and whether it relied on any American help to execute its plans.

He then said that Trump's behavior during the probe is worthy of criticism, even if the president himself was not implicating in any crimes.

"Russia succeeded in 2016 beyond its wildest dreams in its effort to damage our democracy," Comey said. "Especially given that the president hasn't criticized their efforts, he's denied it! I saw some poll that a majority of Republicans don't think Russia intervened in the election in 2016. That's crazy stuff!"

Comey then argued that this denial by Trump will only embolden Russia to help him again next year.

"That tells the Russians that you'll get away with it in 2020," he said. "So they will be back."

Watch the video below.