Clapper calls handling of Comey's firing "pretty shabby"

Behind the Comey firing

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says that the handling of FBI Director James Comey's firing was "pretty shabby."

"The way he was, the way that the whole thing was done," Clapper said in an interview with CBS News' Jeff Pegues. "There is a graceful way to end someone's tenure, there are ways to handle that that I think this could've been done a lot more gracefully than it was." 

"Whatever decisions that some may disagree with that Director Comey made I don't think there's any question, certainly not among rank and file in the FBI, about his leadership and his character and his integrity. And his stature as a distinguished public servant," Clapper added. 

The Trump administration has come under fire in recent weeks over attempts to explain the circumstances surrounding Comey's abrupt departure.

Who will replace James Comey?

Now, Justice Department officials are working overtime to find a replacement for Comey, lining up a string of interviews Friday and Saturday to find the bureau's new director.

President Trump says that the replacement could be named within the next few days before he leaves for his first foreign trip later this week.

"We can make a fast decision," Mr. Trump told reporters on Air Force One on Saturday. "These are outstanding people that are very well known, highest level. So we can make a fast decision."

Clapper, who offered his own testimony to lawmakers on Russian interference in the presidential election, said he had "immense respect and admiration" for Comey, adding that his firing was a "tremendous loss for both the FBI and the nation."

When asked about what concerns he has for the country ahead, Clapper said that as a private citizen, he worries about America's institutions, which he feels are "under attack" from both external and internal sources.

"The current atmospherics. And what that's doing to our system of three co-equal branches of government-- checks and balances, et cetera," added Clapper.

Watch more of Clapper's interview on Monday on "CBS This Morning."