U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst told reporters today she will not support calling witnesses to testify before the Senate in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Ernst said in a statement: “Let’s be clear: we’ve heard from witnesses and seen documents: 17 witnesses and 28,000+ documents during this entire process. The House managers had one job: make the case for impeachment, and they’ve failed to do so.”
“What the House managers have done is wasted time and taxpayer money only to give a long litany of reasons they dislike President Trump — and while the coastal elites might like it, it is not a reason to remove the president from office." https://t.co/eFEBuwsVi3
— Joseph Morton (@MortonOWH) January 30, 2020
Even before the trial began in the Republican-controlled Senate, it was largely a foregone conclusion that the chamber would not convict the president on either article of impeachment.
But in a light of a Sunday report from the New York Times, the door has been opened for a bipartisan vote in favor of subpoenaing witnesses. In the article, the Times quoted excerpts from former national security advisor John Bolton’s upcoming memoir that show Trump telling Bolton he wanted military aid to Ukraine to be conditioned on an investigation into political rivals, include presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
If all Democrats vote in favor of calling witnesses and gathering additional documents, at least four Republicans need to join them to clear the 51-vote threshold. That debate is expected on Friday, after questioning by the senators wraps up today.
“At this point, all Democrats want to do is paralyze the Senate and the work we need to get done on behalf of hardworking folks across the country,” Ernst told the newspaper. “I believe it’s time to get back to the people’s business.”
Despite Ernst’s vulnerability in her first reelection race this year, she apparently has decided that clinging close to Trump is her best strategy to win. Her statements have been in lock-step with the administration since an impeachment inquiry began in September in the House of Representatives.
And on Monday, during a Senate press conference following the day’s testimony, Ernst stepped up to the microphone to opine on whether Iowa caucus-goers would consider testimony heard in the impeachment trial when deciding whether to caucus for Biden on Monday.
“OK, Iowa caucuses, folks, Iowa caucuses, are this next Monday evening. And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters,” Ernst said. “Those Democratic caucus-goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point? Not so certain about that.”
By Elizabeth Meyer