Sen. Joni Ernst. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) joined her colleague Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Thursday in defending the whistleblower behind the Ukraine complaint that's led to a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, according to NBC News.

The big picture: Grassley shielded the whistleblower earlier this week after repeated attacks from Trump, stating, "We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality." Ernst echoed the sentiment, saying, "Whistleblowers should be protected."

  • Trump says he believes "a whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower's legitimate," but that he does not believe this one is.
  • Ernst previously said she didn't see any problem with the conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, telling the Washington Post last week: "I've looked at the transcript; I don't see anything there."

Between the lines: Both Ernst and Grassley are from Iowa, where Morning Consult shows Trump's favorability at -14. Ernst is also up for reelection next year.

Go deeper: Trump's trifecta

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Sen. Joni Ernst's name.

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