News and Commentary

WATCH: Joni Ernst Wonders How The Biden/Burisma Issue Will Impact Iowa Voters
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) speaks during a weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images

On Sunday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper.

At the beginning of the segment, Tapper played two clips.

The first clip featured Ernst saying, “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. Those Democratic caucus-goers, will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?”

The second clip featured former Vice President Joe Biden claiming that Ernst gave away the game: “She spilled the beans. She just came out and flat said it. You know, the whole impeachment trial, for Trump, is just a political hit job to try to smear me because he is scared to death to run against me. And he has good reason to be concerned.”

Tapper asked Ernst if she is “focused on Biden because” she believes he is the “greatest threat to Trump.”

Ernst replied:

No, I think that in that conversation we were having with reporters the other day, it was quite evident the House managers brought up Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter, and Burisma over 400 times in their opening argument.

When the senator repeated the alleged number of times the Democrats brought up the Bidens and Burisma, Tapper pressed her: “The Democrats did that?”

“The Democrats did that,” Ernst stated.

And then the president’s White House counsel spent a number of hours laying out the situation with Burisma. So, I was just pointing out that Iowa has very smart voters, very educated caucus-goers, and if they’re paying attention to all the dynamics with the candidates, that might be something that they would take into consideration.

Tapper then asked Ernst if she thinks that by “linking” the Ukraine issue with the election, she is “undermining” Republican defenses of President Trump and Ukraine.

Ernst said she doesn’t think that she’s undermining it “at all.”

I think that, again, what we have seen is the Democrats presenting their case. And I think it just really did show that there was something of concern with Burisma. And so I think that the Democrats can follow that. They’ll make that decision as they go to the caucuses tonight.

As the segment continued, Ernst again pondered how the president’s focus on Ukraine corruption would impact caucus participants on Monday.

Taper pressed Ernst, putting forward the possibility that she is undermining “the argument that this wasn’t about electoral politics.” He then asked her if her prior comments suggest that she believes “this will have an effect” on voting.

“I think this does,” Ernst responded. “Whether that was the intention or not, now everything is tied together.”

The senator concluded:

So, the information about the Bidens is out there. And so now it is up to the American people to decide, you know, was that a good choice for Hunter Biden to be on that board, especially at a time when his father was trying to ferret out corruption in Ukraine, having his son working for the most corrupt oligarch in Ukraine?