Political News

Jimmy Carter to Trump: Tell the truth 'for a change' and don't 'stonewall' Congress

Posted October 8, 2019 3:10 p.m. EDT

— Former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday weighed in on the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, saying Trump should "tell the truth ... for a change" and not "stonewall" Congress.

"My advice to him would be to tell the truth, I think, for a change and also to cut back on his Twitter feeds and give the House of Representatives and also the Senate, and I say the general public, the evidence that we need to form a case either for or against him," Carter told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

The oldest living former US president, who made his comments while speaking with Mitchell about his volunteer work, also had sharp criticism for the White House and State Department after the administration blocked US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland's scheduled deposition before Congress. Gordon, a hotelier turned US diplomat, had been set to appear Tuesday.

Carter, a Democrat, called the move "a departure from custom" and said the White House was "trying to stonewall" Congress.

"I think that is a departure from custom and departure from what the American people expect, and I think that is one of the main things that Americans are now considering, is the fact that the White House is trying to stonewall and not provide adequate information on which to base a good case to be made either for or against President Trump," he said. "So I think that that in itself is going to be another evidence, another item of evidence, that can be used against him if he continues to stonewall and prevent the evidence to be put forward to the House of Representatives and the Senate to consider."

Carter's comments come amid a battle between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration over requested documents regarding Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to a transcript of the call released by the White House, Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the activities of his son, Hunter, who had been on a board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, despite no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

Lawmakers on Tuesday were eager to press Sondland about text messages he had exchanged related to the call before his testimony was placed on hold. In response, the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees issued a statement saying they consider the administration's latest move "obstruction of the impeachment inquiry" and that they would subpoena Sondland for his "testimony and documents."

Carter, who turned 95 last week, said he aligns with his party on its feelings about the impeachment inquiry into Trump and he praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to launch the probe.

He also said he thinks it is "very unlikely" that the Senate, which is Republican-controlled, would convict Trump and remove him from office.

"But I think we still need to ascertain the facts from the very thorough investigation," he said, later adding: "But if facts reveal an increasing number of things that he has actually done, then of course impeachment is possible and removal from office is possible."

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