Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said Thursday that the Trump administration is "creating incredible problems... in terms of credibility with the American people" amid the conflicting stories on the firing on FBI Director James Comey.
"You have to cross your fingers, and give it 24 hours to see whether or not what they say is in fact the truth," Panetta told Anderson Cooper on CNN. "They're creating incredible problems for themselves in terms of the credibility that they have with the American people.
"You cannot continue to have several different versions of what took place here.
"There's one version. There's one truth about what was really involved here.
"They ought to say it – and they ought to stick to it."
Trump told NBC News Thursday that he had planned to fire Comey regardless of whether top Justice Department officials recommended the action.
The president's comments countered previous explanations by White House officials that Comey had been fired because he had broken agency protocol with his public statements last year regarding the Hillary Clinton email probe.
"When the president speaks, when the White House speaks, you assume that what is said is credible," said Panetta, who also served as Defense Secretary under former President Barack Obama. "And that it's the truth."
The flap, he told Cooper, "just shows a lot of disorganization within the White House – and the relationship between the president and his subordinates.
"If you're going to take a major step like firing the FBI director, you would assume that everybody would get together, and agree on some common talking points.
"That obviously has not been the case.
"It raises even greater questions in the credibility of the investigation into the Russian situation."
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