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

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

Former President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterPolitical science has its limits when it comes to presidential prediction Mellman: Democrats — Buckle up for a wild ride Trump and Obama equally admired? Eight things popularity polls tell us 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 TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 PelosiWhite House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team House revives agenda after impeachment storm Democrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public 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 BidenSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team 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 SchiffWhite House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team Trump knocks authors of 'A Very Stable Genius': 'Two stone cold losers from Amazon WP' Democrats push back on White House impeachment claims, saying Trump believes he is above the law 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."