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Sen. Ernst Trashes Sidney Powell: “Offensive” To Insinuate Republicans, Democrats Paid To Rig System

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Sen. Joni Ernst called Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell’s comment that candidates “paid to have the system rigged” in their elections “offensive” and “absolutely outrageous.” In an interview with FOX News Radio’s Guy Benson on Thursday, Ernst said claims of voter fraud are discouraging to voters and may hurt Republican turnout in the Georgia runoff races because Trump voters doubt the system. “That is an offensive comment for those of us that do stand up and represent our state in a dignified manner,” Ernst said. “We believe in honesty… 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. You know, I have fought for my country. I’ve worn our nation’s uniform to protect the values and freedoms that our nation espouses and to have that accusation just offhandedly thrown out there just to confuse our voters across the United States, I think that is absolutely wrong.” Sidney Powell at the Trump press conference: “In terms of the level of corruption we are looking at here, we have no idea how many Republican or Democratic candidates in any state across the country paid to have the system rigged to work for them. These people didn’t do this just to take control. They make one heck of a lot of money off of it.” “In the case of Georgia, what we do not want to do is discourage Georgians from going out to their — their polling places or even if they are absentee voting — you know, mailing in a ballot. We do not want to discourage them,” she said. From the interview:

GUY BENSON, HOST:  Got to go two for two on some additional races that we’ll get to in just a second.   But first, I want to ask you about something. I don’t know if you had a chance to watch the press conference earlier today from the president’s campaign, their lawyers, about the election, and they’re alleging massive fraud across the entire country with some truly, in my view, insane conspiracy theories.   We heard from Sidney Powell, one of those lawyers, quote Trump won this election in a landslide. Rudy Giuliani said that Trump won Michigan by hundreds of thousands of votes — or Pennsylvania, rather. He won Michigan by 50,000 votes.   I mean, Senator, when you hear the president’s campaign attorney say that the president has one this election in a landslide, what do you say?   SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IOWA):  Well, I would say that there — there does have to be proof. And 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.   And so —   BENSON:  Have you seen that — have you seen that proof?   ERNST:  I — I haven’t seen proof yet. There are a lot of allegations out there, and that’s exactly why we have the court system, is for them to present that information to a court of law.   So, I have not seen it personally. I’m sure they’ll be able to present it to a judge, and that’s important that they do so.   So, while they are working through that process, I continue to focus on keeping the Senate red. That, right now, is absolutely imperative for me.   BENSON:  Totally. And we’re going to talk about Georgia in just a second.   But one more question. That same attorney representing the Trump campaign, Sidney Powell, suggested somewhat darkly during the press conference today that Republican and Democratic politicians across the country, any number of them, could be complicit in this vast conspiracy to have machines connected to Venezuela and all these other conspiracies, change the votes, and tip the votes — and even suggested that candidates on both sides of the aisle may have paid in order to win their elections as opposed to winning them legitimately.   Here’s what she said in cut 29.    (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)    SIDNEY POWELL, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY:  We have no idea how many Republican or Democratic candidates in any state across the country paid to have the system rigged to work for them.   (END AUDIO CLIP)   BENSON:  Senator, I mean, did you or any of your Republican colleagues in the Senate pay to have their elections rigged?     ERNST:  No. And that — that is 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 — I do believe that, if there is fraud out there, it should be brought to the court’s attention.   BENSON:  Sure.   ERNST:  And the proof should be brought forward. We — I think all of us agree on that.   But 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. You know, I have fought for my country.   I’ve worn our nation’s uniform to protect the values and freedoms that our nation espouses. And to have that accusation just offhandedly thrown out there just to confuse our voters across the United States, I think that is absolutely wrong.   BENSON:  Yes. No, I agree. And whether you’re just — sitting the Democrats off to the side for a second, Republicans have had some huge successes in Senate races, in House races, down-ballot in the state legislatures.    And to, in this attempt to gin up anger and paranoia about our elections in order to, sort of, move forward with this fable that President Trump won in a landslide, which he didn’t — he didn’t win.   To call into question any down-ballot victories for the president’s own party and for the legitimate victories of his own party, it’s something that bothers me and it sounds like it bothers you —   ERNST:  Right.   BENSON:  And one of the reasons that it bothers me, Senator, is it might instill in some voters in — oh, I don’t know — the state of Georgia, a sense of foreboding and helplessness, and why even bother if they’ve got these magic foreign machines changing votes and the Democrats are stealing these elections.    But they didn’t bother to steal yours. They didn’t bother to steal Thom Tillis’. And they didn’t bother to steal some of these other close races in the House and elsewhere, which makes no sense to me.   There are people who might internalize that because they believe what —   ERNST:  Right.   BENSON:  — the Trump campaign tells them. And they might say, well, why even bother if the Republicans aren’t going to fight for this in Georgia, I’m not going to show up for them. And if my vote is going to get thrown out by these — these nasty people rigging the machines, why even bother.   That sounds to me like one of the only ways, in my mind, that Democrats have a chance of electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock as opposed to your colleagues, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, which I think is task number one for every center-right person in this country right now. To make sure that Democrats don’t take full control of the government.   ERNST:  Absolutely. And Guy, I can speak as a former county commissioner of election in Iowa, and I — you know, I know that there are so many good people that are running these elections. Can there be bad apples? Yes, there can be.   But in the case of Georgia, what we do not want to do is discourage Georgians from going out to their — their polling places or even if they are absentee voting — you know, mailing in a ballot. We do not want to discourage them.   The elections process is just an integral part of who we are as Americans. And they need to understand what is hanging in the balance, should we lose the White House after all of the challenges are done. We don’t hold the House majority. We cannot lose the Senate. This is the last line of defense.

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