This week, Sen. Joni Ernst stood before reporters and gleefully speculated that the impeachment proceedings would hurt Joe Biden. Laughing, Ernst said, “Will (Iowa caucus goers) be supporting VP Biden at this point? Not sure about that”
It’s worth remembering that this entire impeachment process is about whether the president held up aid to the Ukraine in order to have Joe Biden, his political rival, investigated. And now, Sen. Ernst is standing before the world laughing over the prospect that the net result of all of this will be negative for Joe Biden, the president’s political rival.
Katy Tur reported on NBC, “Voters at the Biden event say they saw this. ‘She gave it away,’ one told me. ‘This is all about hurting Biden in the election.’”
Ernst’s comments are inappropriate. Senators are supposed to be serving as impartial jurors in this impeachment trial and it’s clear, Ernst is not taking her constitutional duty seriously. Neither of Iowa’s senators have tried very hard to be impartial. Both have made comments about impeachment that show they’ve pre-judged the proceedings
But what Ernst’s comments also reveal is how seriously the Republicans are taking these accusations: Not very.
Republicans have a stranglehold on the impeachment trial proceedings, with leaders refusing to allow witnesses and refusing to allow cameras and restricting media access. And now, Ernst’s comments reveal the depth of political cynicism held by the GOP.
Our Iowa senators have one job in this impeachment process: to do their jobs as impartial jurors. We urge them to actually do that.
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Our senators still have the opportunity to do the right thing. With the new information from John Bolton’s book, Sen. Grassley and Ernst should join the call for allowing witnesses and evidence into the impeachment proceedings. If it becomes necessary they should vote for subpoenas and then do the work to enforce those subpoenas.
Despite the outcome of the impeachment, our senators need to remember to do their very best to ensure it’s a fair and impartial proceeding.
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