A Republican senator from Iowa argued on Saturday that alleged impeachable offenses by President Donald Trump paled in comparison with acts committed by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” program, Sen. Joni Ernst noted that Obama’s open-mic moment, when he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “after my election I have more flexibility,” was more impeachable than Trump’s actions involving Ukraine.
“Whether you like what the president has done or not — we can argue this up one side and down the other all day — does it come to the point of removing a president from office? I don’t believe this does,” Ernst said.
“I’ll tie it back to Obama and his hot mic moment with the former president of Russia, where he literally said give me some space in my election. Oops, OK, talking about elections,” Ernst continued.
Host Jake Tapper noted that Obama “was talking about a missile defense.”
“Yes but a missile defense that the Congress wanted him to build up make much more robust protect America citizens and President Obama choose not to do that as long as the Russians gave him space in the elections,” Ernst responded, adding that “nobody brought up impeachment.”
“So the very fact that because aid was held for about two months because there was not an official White House meeting, people are wanting to impeach this president,” the Iowa Republican said. “What President Trump did it didn’t rise to the level of what President Obama did.”
She added that President Trump’s actions involving Ukraine were aimed at rooting out corruption in order to ensure that American taxpayer-funded military aid was being properly spent.
“Generally speaking going after corruption would be the right thing to do, he did it maybe in the wrong manner,” she told Tapper.
“But I think he could have done it through different channels. Now this is the argument is that he should have probably gone to the (Department of Justice), he should have worked through the entities, but he chose a different route,” she added.