Breaking from the more progressive wing of his party, former President Jimmy Carter says he thinks President Donald Trump should serve his full four-year term and not be impeached. It’s a position that sets him apart from other Democrats who’ve been vocal about their quest to impeach Trump.
“My own preference would be that he not be impeached, but that he be able to serve out his term,” Carter told CBS News. “I think he wants to do a good job, and I’m willing to help him if I can help him, and give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Carter made the remark in an interview with Jane Pauley on CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” It was part of a wide-ranging discussion about his faith, a recent battle with cancer, and life after what he conceded could be viewed as a “failed” one-term presidency.
“I have confidence in the American system of government,” he explained. “I think ultimately the restraints on a president from the Congress and the Supreme Court will be adequate to protect our nation if he serves a full term.”
The question of President Trump serving a full term comes amid a continuing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
The sweeping investigation has spawned the indictments of about a dozen Russian nationals, plea deals with former Trump campaign aides and the specter of criminal charges against others.
The former president seemed to express a desire for the Mueller probe to quickly come to a close.
“I think Mueller’s been very successful in keeping his cards close to his vest and not revealing any plans,” Carter continued. “But my wish is that Mr. Mueller would go ahead and make a decision, even if it’s not anything personally that President Trump has done to violate the law – then I think he ought to make that obvious.”
Now out of office for nearly 40 years, Carter, 93, has defined his unique role within the Democratic Party – as a peace advocate and a humanitarian through his Carter Center.
After surviving a 2015 deadly diagnosis of melanoma that spread to his brain and liver, he also regularly teaches Sunday school at his church in Plains, Georgia.
Despite voters rejecting Carter’s 1980 re-election bid in favor of former President Ronald Reagan, Carter told CBS News he has lived a remarkable post-White House second chapter.
“I realize that you know, not getting re-elected is considered to be a failure. But I have found, since leaving the White House, that I’ve had a very gratifying and, I think, productive life with the Carter Center. You know, we’ve been able to monitor 107 different troubled elections that may not have gone well had we not been there.”
Showing his willingness to engage with voices on the other side of the political aisle, Carter is set to deliver the keynote address at Liberty University in May – joining two other presidents who’ve previously spoken at commencement while serving in the White House: George H.W. Bush in 1990 and Donald Trump last year.