Ernst: Trump lawyer claim that candidates pay to rig elections 'absolutely outrageous'

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Bipartisan momentum builds for war on terror memorial GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-Iowa) said Thursday that baseless allegations from Sidney Powell, an attorney working with the Trump campaign, claiming that down-ballot candidates paid to rig elections are "offensive."

"To insinuate that Republican and Democratic candidates paid to throw off this election I think is absolutely outrageous, and I do take offense to that," Ernst said during an interview with Fox News Radio's Guy Benson

Ernst was asked about comments Powell made earlier during a press conference where she alleged, without evidence, that "we have no idea how many Republican or Democratic candidates … paid to have the system rigged to work for them.”


Ernst, a member of GOP leadership who won reelection earlier this month, added that she believed the accusation was an "offensive comment."

"For those of us that do stand up and represent our states in a dignified manner, we believe in honesty. We believe in the integrity of our election system which is why I do believe that if there is fraud out there it should be brought to the court's attention," Ernst said.

"To have that accusation just offhandedly thrown out there, just to confuse our voters across the United States, I think that is absolutely wrong," she added.

Trump and lawyers for his campaign are stepping up their efforts to reverse the outcome of the election, where President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE is projected to get 306 electoral votes compared to Trump's 232.

Biden also led Trump in several states where the president's legal team has launched largely unsuccessful challenges. 

Senate Republicans have largely stopped short of echoing Trump's claims, made without evidence, that the election was "rigged." However, they have been careful to not get too far ahead of him — only a handful have acknowledged Biden's victory.


Ernst, during the Fox News Radio interview, reiterated that Trump is able to use the court as an avenue to make legal challenges.

Powell, during Thursday's press conference, claimed that Trump had won by a "landslide" and that the legal team would "prove it."

Asked about the claim, Ernst replied "there does have to be proof."

"As they are working their way through the court system, which absolutely is a means of recourse for the president and his team, they have to be able to show that proof," she said.

Pressed if she had seen proof, Ernst indicated that she hadn't.

"I haven't seen proof yet. There are a lot of allegations out there and that's exactly why we have the court system," she said. "I have not seen it personally. I'm sure they'll be able to present it to a judge."