Senate Republicans are racing to distance themselves from President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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 GrahamSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Georgia DA investigating Trump taps racketeering expert for probe: report GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill 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.”
 
Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocratic centrists flex power on Biden legislation Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits MORE (R-Utah), who has had high-profile breaks with Trump, said accepting information from a foreign government would be "unthinkable." 
 
“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.
 
 
"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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role 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 TillisMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general GOP senators demand probe into Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths CNN anchor confronts GOP chairman over senator's vote to convict 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."