Sen. Joni Ernst Clarifies Remarks About Potentially Impeaching Joe Biden

February 3, 2020 Updated: February 3, 2020
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Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said her remarks about Congress potentially impeaching Joe Biden if he was elected president were taken out of context.

“That was taken entirely out of context. The point is that the Democrats have lowered the bar so far that … regardless of who it is, if you have a different party in the House than that of an elected president, you can have just random comments thrown out there with folks saying we’re going to impeach,” Ernst, 49, told reporters in Washington on Monday, reported The Hill.

“So, no, it was taken out of context. I didn’t say what the headlines [said] but simply that we‘ve lowered the bar so much, is this really what the American people want? And I would say no it’s not.”

Ernst, the vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, said on Sunday that Biden, 77, was in danger of being impeached if he was elected president.

“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” Ernst said.

“Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”

Biden could be impeached “for being assigned to take on Ukrainian corruption yet turning a blind eye to Burisma because his son was on the board making over a million dollars a year,” Ernst added.

Hunter Biden, 49, was on the board of the Ukraine-based Burisma Holdings from 2014 to 2019. Joe Biden said in 2018 that in 2016 he threatened to withhold $1 billion of aid from Ukraine unless a prosecutor probing Burisma was ousted. Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor, said he resigned under pressure.

joe biden on son
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a stop at an event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 2020. (Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

A probe into Burisma was revived last year by a new Ukrainian administration.

Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield told Bloomberg News: “Iowans have the chance tomorrow to say the words that Donald Trump and Joni Ernst fear most: I’m here to caucus for Joe Biden.”

The Iowa caucuses, the first in the nation, are on Monday.

Biden is a top Democratic presidential candidate but faces fierce competition.

The Bidens have been in the spotlight over their actions related to Ukraine since last year, when President Donald Trump said in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he wanted Ukraine to “look into” corruption allegations against them. Trump referenced Biden’s 2018 comments during the call.

“Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me,” Trump said. Zelensky said he was aware of what happened.

The call sparked an impeachment inquiry that culminated with Trump being impeached in December 2019. He’s expected to be acquitted by the GOP-held Senate this week.

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