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Fomer CIA head on search for new FBI director
01:45 - Source: CNN

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James Woolsey tells Fareed Zakaria he was "troubled" by James Comey's firing

Woolsey says he's disturbed by reports that President Trump had asked for Comey's "loyalty"

CNN  — 

Former CIA Director James Woolsey told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday that he believed it would be tough to find a “willing” candidate to replace fired FBI Director James Comey.

“I find this whole thing, this whole week, to be very troubling for inchoate ways and inchoate reasons,” he told Zakaria, referring to President Trump’s firing of Comey, who had been in the middle of investigating possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s interference in last year’s election.

Woolsey, who served as Director of Central Intelligence under President Clinton, added that he also was surprised by reports that President Trump had asked then-Director Comey to pledge his loyalty to him shortly after he took office.

“As far as loyalty is concerned, we’re senior government officials — our loyalty ought to be to the Constitution. We’re not in medieval England, people aren’t trying to stage coups and so forth,” he told Zakaria.

As for how he might have responded to such a request, Woolsey said it was simple.

“I think a perfectly appropriate answer to the question ‘Are you loyal to me?’ is, ‘Certainly, as long as you are within the operating room that you were given by the Constitution, Mr. President,’” he insisted.

Woolsey told Zakaria that he now he believed that any good candidates to replace Comey (the role is currently being held by acting director Andrew F. McCabe) would be reluctant to step in.

“I think it’s going to be very hard to find a good FBI director who is willing to operate under the circumstances that we’ve seen this week,” he said.