Former President Jimmy Carter urged the Trump administration to stop stonewalling Congress and cooperate with the impeachment inquiry launched on Capitol Hill.
Speaking Tuesday to MSNBC, Mr. Carter applauded fellow Democrats for initiating impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump but said “it still remains to be seen” whether the inquiry — the fourth in U.S. history — will prove to be good or bad for the country.
“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,” Mr. Carter, 95, said from the site of a Habitat for Humanity event in Nashville.
Mr. Carter took issue with the White House and State Department blocking witnesses from cooperating with the probe, however, calling it “a departure from what American people expect.”
“I think that’s 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,” said Mr. Carter, the nation’s 39th president.
Further defiance of Congress would amount to “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,” he said.
“My advice to him would be to tell the truth, I think, for a change,” Mr. Carter said about Mr. Trump. “And also to cut back on his Twitter feeds and give the House of Representatives and also the Senate, and I would say, the general public, the evidence that — that we need to form a case, either for or against him.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, launched the impeachment inquiry last month after the Trump administration tried to block Congress from viewing a whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the U.S. intelligence community. The White House eventually released a rough transcript of a presidential phone call that triggered the complaint, and it showed that Mr. Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to launch an investigation into 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
The Trump administration has since prevented witnesses contacted as part of the inquiry from testifying, including Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who was subpoenaed Tuesday after skipping a previously scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill at the executive branch’s urging.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump said later Tuesday that the administration will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, calling it “partisan and unconstitutional.”
“The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the president’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction,” Ms. Pelosi responded. “Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.”