Ernst withholds comments on indictments of Trump campaign advisers

Iowa senator wants to see investigators follow the path

Big developments came this week in the special investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Robert Mueller's probe brought two indictments, a guilty plea and questions about how many more dominoes could still fall.

President Trump's former campaign manager headlines the list. Paul Manafort was indicted on 12 counts that include money laundering and conspiracy against the United States. The same goes for lesser known campaign adviser Rick Gates. 

You'd be hard pressed to find anybody who knew the name George Papadopoulos before this week. This former campaign adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about trying to set up meetings between the president's campaign and the Russian government.

He's cooperating with investigators and everyone is wondering how much and what he knows. 

I had a conversation with Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa earlier this week on 4 The Record.

That discussion began with her response to the developments from the Mueller investigation.

"Well, it's an ongoing investigation so I can't comment on any of the particulars, but I have always said, 'Let the investigation go and see where it ends up.'"

Ernst isn't concerned at this time that it will reach deeper into the Trump administration.

"As long as there is a path, then they should follow that path," Ernst said. "I don't know what the end results will be and I shouldn't speculate on that. What I'm seeing is that many years ago there seemed to be some activity going on that was not legal in nature and so I think they should continue that path. How it affects this administration? Again, I just don't see that connection yet."

Ernst's concerns about the president's judge of character considering he chose them to play significant roles on his campaign has been allayed by the staff he has in place now.

"I think he's made some very smart choices when it comes to his cabinet," Ernst said.

Republicans have unveiled the details of the tax reform plan, but there was a lot of talk beforehand about a couple of controversial items. One of them would limit the 401(k) contributions.

"I don't think we should be limiting Americans ability to save for their own retirement purposes," Ernst said. "I think we have to look at the plan as a whole. Will it allow more of our middle- and lower-income wage earners to keep more of their hard-earned dollars? We can't just draw a line on one particular or another. We have to look at the package in its entirety."

Republicans promise $5 trillion in tax cuts while adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. That would mean cutting $3.5 trillion in programs.

Ernst addressed how adding to the deficit Republicans complain so much about is responsible governing.

"I think we have a lot of markets to explore, not only domestically, but internationally as well," Ernst said. "I do keep pushing the administration on our trade agreements. That is really, really important, especially if we look at Iowa. Our agricultural-based economy is really, really important, so we will keep pushing on that but I do think it is possible. Our potential is unlimited in the United States and we need to further develop that."

Watch the full interview in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It's a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what's happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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