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Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told Bloomberg in an interview Sunday that there could immediately be a push to try to impeach Joe Biden over his actions in Ukraine if he's elected president, despite no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president.

Why it matters: Republicans have argued that attempting to remove President Trump from office in a partisan fashion sets a dangerous precedent of politicizing impeachment. Ernst, who said earlier Sunday that she will vote to acquit Trump, told Bloomberg that "this door of impeachable whatever has been opened" and that "Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for."

The big picture: Biden, who was tasked by President Obama with fighting corruption in Ukraine, demanded the firing of former prosecutor general Viktor Shokin in 2016. At the time, Biden's son Hunter was serving on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which was owned by an oligarch who had been investigated for corruption.

  • The removal of Shokin was a policy supported by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and many bipartisan members of Congress. However, Republicans have alleged that Biden had Shokin fired because he was investigating Burisma.
  • There's no evidence to support this claim, and no members of Congress expressed concern about Shokin's ouster until last year, when the allegations were first promoted by Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Between the lines: Iowa, Ernst's home state, will host its Democratic caucuses Monday. Polls show a tight race between Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

  • Ernst suggested last week that information about the Bidens surfaced during the impeachment trial could hurt his chances.
  • "I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus-goers," she said. "Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point? Not certain at that."

Go deeper ... Fact check: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Ernst said "people" could push to impeach Biden, not Republicans specifically..

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.