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Top House Democrat: Trump did 'on camera' what Romney warned about

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE (D-R.I.) on Thursday called on Republicans to "put our country ahead of their political party" following President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE's latest comments asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' MORE.

Cicilline highlighted a September tweet from Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Paul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE in which the Utah Republican, who has regularly broken with Trump on policy issues, said Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden would be "troubling in the extreme."

Romney made the remarks amid reports that Trump had urged Ukraine in a call to open an investigation into Biden, a top 2020 presidential rival, and before a White House summary of the call confirmed key details and before Trump on Thursday publicly called for such a probe.

“The President just did exactly this (on camera, no less). It’s time for Republicans to put our country ahead of their political party,” tweeted Cicilline, the chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

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Trump told reporters Wednesday that he “would recommend [Ukraine] start an investigation into the Bidens,” after being asked about a July 25 phone call in which he pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Trump also said that "China should start an investigation into the Bidens," saying that while he has yet to explicitly ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate the 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner, it is “certainly something we can start thinking about.”

Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have lambasted Trump for privately calling for Ukraine to investigate a political rival during a July 25 call, with many lawmakers calling it an abuse of power and Democrats saying the move bolsters their case for impeachment.

The Biden campaign issued a statement calling the latest public remarks on Thursday "a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over country."

Few Republicans have weighed in yet on Trump publicly urging Ukraine and China to open investigations into Biden. The president's remarks Thursday also come as Washington and Beijing are seeking to secure a trade deal between the two countries.

Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine was at the center of a whistleblower report that led House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) to announce the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry in September.

The president has claimed the report is inaccurate, though a summary of the discussion released by the White House backed up many key details in the complaint, primarily Trump encouraging Ukraine's president to work with his personal lawyer to investigate Biden.

Romney has reportedly expressed concerns about the whistleblower’s allegations despite other Senate Republicans’ skepticism about the complaint, with Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Spokesperson says Tennessee Democrat made 'poor analogy' in saying South Carolina voters have extra chromosome MORE (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s most vocal Senate allies, telling reporters that Romney was the only senator to express reservations about it in a meeting last week.

“Mitt Romney doesn’t like the president and he’s going to say a lot of things I don’t agree with,” Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeHouse Democrats back slower timeline for changing Confederate base names Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee Overnight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' MORE (R-Okla.) told reporters.