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 GrahamRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Senator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa 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 GardnerTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum McConnell keeps press in check as impeachment trial starts Progressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment MORE (R-Colo.), one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection, shot back: "Just say no." 
 
"I mean, turn it over," Gardner added. 
 
 
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. 
 
 
"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 GrassleyOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk | Union membership falls to record low | Manufacturers want Trump tax provision made permanent | Warren presses banks on climate plans PhRMA spent record-high million on lobbying in 2019 Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk 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 TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump 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."