Ernst argues Trump impeachment trial is unconstitutional

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst said Tuesday she believes it’s unconstitutional to try a president for articles of impeachment after he leaves office.

Ernst, a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump while he was in office, is one of several Republican senators to question the impeachment proceedings, casting doubt on whether Democrats can get the needed Republican votes to convict Trump.

Ernst has said Trump exhibited poor leadership and has some responsibility for a Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She said he should have more quickly told the crowd to remain peaceful. However, Ernst said she’s not sure his actions meet the definition of inciting an insurrection as alleged by the impeachment article prepared by the House.

In a call with Iowa reporters Ernst said she still will listen to presentations in upcoming days on the issue of whether a post-presidential impeachment is constitutional.

“At this point I believe this is unconstitutional. I will keep my ears open and listen and ask appropriate questions as we move into the trial,” she said.

Ernst said the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol should be held accountable. She seemed less concerned with holding Trump accountable for his role in encouraging violence at the Capitol.

“If the president is truly guilty of something else we have remedies through the courts for that. So if there truly is a case there he can still be held accountable,” she said.

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