WASHINGTON — Republican Senator Joni Ernst today said she favors a “speedy trial” if — as expected — the House sends articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.
“Obviously, we all are paying attention to impeachment,” Ernst said, “and I have not seen anything that has come out of the House that would lead me to believe there is an impeachable offense there.”
The top Republican in the Senate has indicated for weeks he’s planning a limited impeachment trial, with just the president’s defense team and the House impeachment managers allowed to speak. Ernst called impeachment a “political exercise” that does not need to be drawn out.
“I think it needs to be fast and, I’ll tell you, I think there are probably five or six other Senate Democrats that would like it to be pretty fast, too,” Ernst said. “Those that are running for president have been cut out of the process right before the Iowa Caucuses, so we’ll see how badly they want to impeach the president or they’re just doing this for politics.”
Senators are required by the Constitution to attend an impeachment trial. That means 2020 presidential candidates Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — all of whom are U.S. Senators — will be jurors, listening to the impeachment proceedings.
“I think they’ll quickly want to get out of their Senate seats and run back to Iowa so they can be on the campaign trail,” Ernst said.
Ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement has been slowed because of the impeachment process, Ernst said this morning.
“I would love to see a speedy trial,” she said. “I think we have so much work that we need to get done as a congress and this has been just really quite a detractor from the really important work.”
The speaker of the House has indicated a vote will be taken this week on the USMCA. The Senate’s Republican leader says that means senators will vote on impeachment before they vote on the trade deal, sometime in January.