Jimmy Carter calls out Trump administration for 'trying to stonewall' impeachment inquiry

Jimmy Carter calls out Trump administration for 'trying to stonewall' impeachment inquiry
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Former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWarning signs flash for Lindsey Graham in South Carolina Jimmy Carter remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg as 'a beacon of justice' With 5 weeks to go, the economy and Trump are surging MORE (D) on Tuesday called out the White House for "trying to stonewall" the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, saying that blocking administration officials' testimony would only serve as more evidence against President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE

Carter, who served as president between 1977 and 1981, was asked on MSNBC if the White House was right to block key officials' testimony.

He replied that he thinks the "fact that the White House is trying to stonewall and not provide adequate information" is a "departure from custom and ... what American people expect."

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“I think that’s going to be another item of evidence used against [Trump] if he continues to stonewall and prevent evidence to be put forward to the House and Senate to consider," Carter added, before advising Trump to "tell the truth" and "cut back on his Twitter feed" amid the congressional inquiry. 

A wave of revelations regarding Trump's interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump is betting big on the suburbs, but his strategy is failing 'bigly' Trump orders flags at half-staff to honor 'trailblazer' Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) to announce a formal impeachment inquiry last month. As part of the inquiry, chairmen of multiple House committees have called for testimony and documents from several officials with ties to the president's dealings with Ukraine, setting up a contentious battle with the administration. 

European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland was expected to privately testify before Congress on Tuesday. Just hours before his scheduled deposition, the State Department ordered Sondland not to appear.

Democrats are interested in speaking with Sondland about his role in the president's effort to encourage Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Trump expects to nominate woman to replace Ginsburg next week Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral MORE and his son over unfounded allegations of corruption.  

"Not only is the Congress being deprived of his testimony, and the American people are being deprived of his testimony today, but we are also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device which have been provided to the State Department," House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence Overnight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings Overnight Defense: House to vote on military justice bill spurred by Vanessa Guillén death | Biden courts veterans after Trump's military controversies MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters shortly after the State Department blocked Sondland's testimony, adding that the State Department was withholding those messages as well. 
 
Schiff claimed that the messages were "deeply relevant" to the impeachment inquiry and that the Trump administration's failure to allow the witnesses to testify was "strong evidence of obstruction."
 
Trump has, meanwhile, fiercely defended his administration's decision, saying that Sondland's testimony would have appeared before a "totally compromised kangaroo court."