Ernst: No evidence Obama should be impeached

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) on Tuesday disavowed remarks she made earlier this year in which she said President Obama’s impeachment should be on the table.

“To be clear, I have not seen any evidence that the president should be impeached,” Ernst said in a statement Tuesday that her campaign provided to The Hill. “I obviously do not believe the president is a dictator, but his repeated use of unilateral action sure makes him look like one.”

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Ernst won the Republican nomination last month in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and is running a tough campaign against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa). Republicans have hopes she can win a state Obama won twice in presidential election years, something that would greatly increase the GOP’s chances of winning a Senate majority.

A video clip of Ernst discussing impeachment at a January GOP candidate forum in Iowa surfaced on Tuesday and prompted Ernst’s statement.

In the video clip, Ernst is asked by the forum’s moderator how Obama should be punished if the Supreme Court ruled that Obama’s recess appointments were an “abuse of power.” The moderator also said this was “one of many things he [Obama] has done outside his scope of constitutional authority.”

“I do believe the president did overstep his bounds,” Ernst says in the video clip posted on AOL. She adds that he should face repercussions such as “removal from office or impeachment.”

Ernst then criticized lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not punishing the president.

“As a U.S. senator, though, we have to push that issue, we can't be silent on things like that,” she said. “And unfortunately, we have a number of legislators right now that simply let these things happen.

“They're not speaking up against these actions. They're not speaking out against the president when he oversteps his bounds, when he makes those appointments, when he's appointing czars, when he is producing executive orders in a threat to a Congress that won't do as he wishes. So he has become a dictator,” she said.

The clip surfaced as talk of impeachment is bubbling up in conservative circles. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 2008 who has supported Ernst, on Tuesday called for Obama to be impeached over the immigration crisis.

On Tuesday, Ernst said: “Obviously if the Supreme Court were to ever rule that the president of the United States had abused their power, that would be a very serious charge.

“I responded by saying that, if the court in fact made such a ruling, that the president should face the necessary repercussions. I would give the same answer about any president, Republican or Democrat.”

The Supreme Court last month unanimously ruled that Obama’s recess appointments did violate the Constitution.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to unveil legislation this month that would authorize a lawsuit challenging Obama’s use of executive authority. It’s unclear what specifically Boehner wants to challenge.

Ernst also weighed in on impeachment in late June, saying that Boehner should decide whether or not to move for impeachment.

"That would be up to him. I'm not encouraging or discouraging it. John Boehner is making John Boehner’s choices. But, we know we have a long ways to go, and I think this election is going to be that turning point," she said.

— This story was posted at 9:03 a.m. and last at 5 p.m.

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