The Republican senator is speaking out in defense of the intelligence community whistleblower on the center of President Donald Trump’s rage this week.
“Whistleblowers need to be protected,” Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa informed a constituent at a town hall in Templeton, Iowa, on Thursday. “I stand with Chuck Grassley on this. We’ve got laws in place.”
Trump has repeatedly criticized the whistleblower whose complaint result in Democrats launching an impeachment inquiry. The whistleblower revealed the existence of a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, where Trump pushed him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his political rival.
Ernst, who’s going through re-election next year, stated last week she wasn’t involved about the substance of the call. “I’ve looked on the transcript; I do not see something there,” she informed The Washington Post.
Ernst, who has mentioned Trump interviewed her to be his running mate in 2016, responded that “the president is going to answer what the president is going to do. It is up to us as members of the Congress to proceed to work with our allies ensuring that we remain strong in the face of adversity.”
Pushed about Trump asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival, Ernst mentioned she’s spoken out towards corruption in Ukraine previously and “corruption, no matter where it is should be ferreted out.” As for allegations Trump shook down Ukraine by withholding support, Ernst noted that the Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into the Ukraine allegations, and she was “not jumping to any conclusion. We do not have the complete story yet. However, as soon as we do, we can make that determination.”
Grassley, on Tuesday, issued a statement defending the whistleblower, saying: “This person seems to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and should be heard out and protected. We must always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality.”
The statement didn’t mention Trump, however, came after the president and top allies, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the person’s identity must be revealed.
Trump was asked about Republican concerns on Wednesday and mentioned, “I do not care.