Sen. Joni Ernst says corroboration of Ford's claims against Kavanaugh "wasn't there"

Sen. Ernst on Kavanaugh allegations, trade

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said that she will continue to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court should the FBI not find additional evidence or corroboration of accuser Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault. Ernst told "CBS This Morning" Tuesday that based off of Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the "corroboration wasn't there" with the "witnesses she brought forward."

"What we want to see is, is there evidence  or corroboration that the FBI is able to find through the supplemental investigation that would corroborate Dr. Ford's accusations and if not, I will continue to support Judge Kavanaugh based on the information that I have at this time," Ernst said.

Asked what a vote of support for Kavanaugh sends to women, particularly from a female senator, Ernst said her positive vote shows women that "we are innocent until proven guilty."

"I have absolutely no doubt after reviewing Dr. Ford's testimony that she has suffered from something very traumatic in her lifetime, but simply the corroboration wasn't there with even the witnesses that she brought forward," Ernst said. 

She added, "The witnesses that she named have either denied those claims or cannot corroborate, which I do believe hurt her even more so. But again I do believe she has suffered from something very traumatic, I do have doubt that it was Brett Kavanaugh."

Meanwhile, Ernst hailed the president's latest trade deal -- the United States Mexico Canada Agreement -- being billed as a new draft of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a "wonderful win" for the agricultural world. 

"This does expand opportunity for our dairy farmers, for eggs  and poultry going into Canada and it levels the playing field for wheat as well. So we are very excited for the opportunity to get our commodities out into Canada and Mexico and continue on with that great relationship," Ernst said.

While Ernst said she hasn't seen the final negotiated text of the trade agreement and was unclear on just how the deal would expand economic opportunity for farmers, she said the final deal would create an "even stronger agreement" and a modernization of the former NAFTA pact. 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital