Robert Gates on Comey: Trump should have had his 'ducks in a row'

Robert Gates on Comey: Trump should have had his 'ducks in a row'
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Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that President Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey was “not terribly well done.”

“You know, I fired a lot of senior people myself and I think the key, when you feel compelled to remove a senior official, is essentially to have all your ducks in a row at the beginning,” he said in an interview for CBS News's "Face the Nation" released Friday.

“It’s always going to be contentious,” Gates added. “[But] it’s to have the rationale, have everybody understand what the rationale was.”

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“But having a single story in line in terms of how it happened and why it happened, that everybody is on the same page, and then what the next steps are I think helps to diminish the blowback they you get.”

Gates, who served under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHearing for Twitter hack suspect Zoom-bombed by porn, rap music Read: Sally Yates testimony Michelle Obama says she is managing 'low-grade depression' MORE, said it is beneficial to have a candidate “who is going to step into the interim immediately.”

“For that to be somebody of impeccable integrity and reputation disarms a lot of the worst criticism that it’s some kind of power play.”

The Trump administration struggled this week to explain the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing.

Trump undercut the official White House account on Thursday when he said he would have fired the FBI chief regardless of a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

Comey’s firing came as the FBI probes Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race, including possible ties between Moscow and Trump’s campaign.