Senate Republicans are racing to distance themselves from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's suggestion that he would accept information from a foreign government ahead of the 2020 election.
 
Trump's comments, which he made during an interview with ABC News, set off a political storm on Capitol Hill on Thursday, forcing Republicans to either break with Trump or remain silent amid a downpour of questions from reporters about accepting help from a foreign government.
 
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Trump weighs leaving some troops in Syria to 'secure the oil' | US has pulled 2,000 troops from Afghanistan | Pelosi leads delegation to Afghanistan, Jordan US troops leaving Syria cross into Iraq Graham says he's open-minded on supporting impeachment: 'Sure, I mean show me something that is a crime' MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump's, called the president's comments "wrong." He said he spoke to Trump on Thursday about the ABC News interview and reiterated that he should call the FBI if a foreign government tries to offer information on an opponent.
 
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"Basically what I just told him is … you don't need to call the FBI cause somebody says they want to help your campaign, you need to call the FBI when somebody is trying to provide something of value to you that you think is inappropriate," Graham said.
 
He added that "when it goes down the road of 'I've got dirt on your opponent,' that's a bright line. The answer is no." 
 
Graham, who is up for reelection in a red state next year, was one of several Republicans who pushed back over Trump's claim that he would "look at" information about a political opponent even if it's offered by a foreign government. 
 
“I think you might want to listen. There’s nothing wrong with listening,” he told ABC. “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go, maybe, to the FBI.”
 
 
“It would be totally inappropriate and it would strike at the heart of our democracy,” said Romney, an at-times vocal Trump critic who was the party's 2012 nominee for president.
 
Asked what the president should do if a foreign government offers opposition research on an opponent, Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists GOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' The Hill's Morning Report - Dem debate contenders take aim at Warren MORE (R-Colo.), one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection, shot back: "Just say no." 
 
"I mean, turn it over," Gardner added. 
 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (R-Maine) — who, like Gardner, is up for reelection in a state won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset' Clinton attacks on Gabbard become flashpoint in presidential race Saagar Enjeti: Clinton remarks on Gabbard 'shows just how deep the rot in our system goes' MORE in 2016 — added that the "proper action" for Trump or anyone else would be "call the FBI."
 
Not every Republican was as ready to criticize Trump's remarks, though none have offered to back up his claims that candidates should accept information from a foreign government. 
 
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse rejects GOP measure censuring Schiff Poll: 14 percent of GOP voters say Trump should be impeached Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate MORE (R-Calif.) told reporters on Thursday that believes "the president would always do the right action."
 
"I’ve watched this president. I’ve listened to this president. He does not want foreign governments interfering in our election. He’s been very strong about that,” McCarthy said. “He’s been so strong against Russia.”

Some GOP senators also tried to flip the script by raising the 2016 election and the controversial opposition research dossier against Trump, known as the Steele dossier. Sources told The Washington Post in 2017 that Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) helped fund the research that was ultimately turned into the dossier. 

"I'm a little astonished at the outrage that I've heard because I didn't hear equal outrage when Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid a foreign spy to gather information from Russia," said Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMulvaney faces uncertain future after public gaffes State cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (R-Iowa).

Grassley is one of several Republicans, along with Graham, who want to investigate the origins of the FBI's probe into the 2016 election and the Trump campaign.

But, Grassley added, the "bottom line is that whether you're a Republican campaign or a Democratic campaign you've got to be very protective of making sure that you don't do anything that enhances a goal of a foreign national or a foreign country."

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTillis says impeachment is 'a waste of resources' GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren, Sanders overtake Biden in third-quarter fundraising MORE (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection, stressed when asked about Trump's comments that he wanted to first include the "context" that "we've got to start with the Clinton campaign that accepted information from a former foreign agent."

"If I had knowledge that it was someone from a foreign country my first phone call would be to the FBI," Tillis said.

Asked if he had accepted information from a foreign government, he added, "absolutely not."