WASHINGTON — Former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday accused President Donald Trump of stonewalling by preventing administration officials from testifying before the House impeachment inquiry.
"My advice to him would be to tell the truth, I think, for a change," Carter told MSNBC. "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."
Asked whether he thinks the impeachment inquiry is a good or a bad thing, Carter was noncommittal. "I think it still remains to be seen," he said, and depends on what's revealed in the impeachment inquiry. "I think we still need to ascertain the facts from a very thorough investigation," he said.
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The former president praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handling of the issue. "I'm very glad that the Speaker of the House has ordained that the investigation go forward," he said.
Despite the long odds that the Senate would vote to remove Trump from office, Carter said he did not rule out the possibility that that could happen: "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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Carter — speaking from Nashville, where he is building houses for Habitat for Humanity International — was critical of the White House and State Department for blocking testimony by officials with knowledge of events at the heart of the investigation.
"I think that's a departure from custom, and a departure from what American people expect," he said. "And 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."
Echoing House Democrats, Carter called White House moves to block information from Congress "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 to consider."
Despite a weekend fall at home that resulted in 14 stitches in his head and a visible black eye, the former president — who turned 95 last week — appeared as spirited as ever as he took a break from his and former first lady Rosalynn Carter's longtime commitment as Habitat volunteers, this week helping to build 21 homes.
"I think this is the best way that I could put my Christian faith into actual practice," he said. "You know, Jesus Christ was a carpenter, as a matter of fact. And I'm sure he swung a hammer a lot. So, you know, when we have a Christian faith, we want to try to pick out some way for wealthy people and folks that have everything, like I do, to reach out and help others. And this is an easy way to do it."