Throughout the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Congressional Republicans have argued that Democrats lowered the standard of an impeachable offense and warned that it would be easier to impeach future presidents on a partisan basis.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said that it is possible former Vice President Joe Biden (D) could face an impeachment proceeding if he won the 2020 presidential election.
“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” Ernst said, adding, “Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”
Ernst suggested that a possible ground for impeachment could be “being assigned to take on Ukrainian corruption yet turning a blind eye to Burisma because his son was on the board making over a million dollars a year.”
At a rally in Iowa on Sunday night, Biden responded to Ernst’s comments, “Why don’t you all show Joni Ernst just how smart you are by caucusing for me?”
“Doesn’t that make the case I’m making that from the very beginning that this was all about not wanting to run against me?” He asked reporters after the event.
On Monday, Ernst appeared to walk back her comments, and claimed they were taken out of context.
“That was taken entirely out of context. The point is that the Democrats have lowered the bar so far that … regardless of who it is, if you have a different party in the House than that of an elected president, you can have just random comments thrown out there with folks saying we’re going to impeach,” Ernst told reporters when asked about her comments.
Biden has denied that there was anything improper about his son — Hunter Biden — serving on the board of Burisma while he was vice president. However, he has admitted that it did not create good optics.
House Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump after a whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that he withheld roughly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure officials there to launch an investigation of the Bidens.
The House passed the two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress — on December 18.
Throughout the process, Republicans warned that the impeachment proceeding risked lowering the standard what qualifies as an impeachable offense and would make it easier for lawmakers to impeach a future Democratic president on a partisan basis.
“And I tell you what: Someday, there will be a Democrat president, and there will be a Republican House, and I suspect they’re going to remember it,” Trump told reporters in December.