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

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Top antitrust Dem presses DOJ, FTC on Google's Fitbit acquisition Hillicon Valley: California AG reveals Facebook investigation | McConnell criticizes Twitter's political ad ban | Lawmakers raise concerns over Google takeover of Fitbit | Dem pushes FCC to secure 5G networks MORE (D-R.I.) on Thursday called on Republicans to "put our country ahead of their political party" following President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE's latest comments asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Democrats release two new transcripts ahead of next public impeachment hearings Press: Ukraine's not the only outrage MORE.

Cicilline highlighted a September tweet from Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDeval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Jon Huntsman expected to run for governor in Utah 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 PelosiFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran 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 GrahamHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran 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 InhofeOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-Okla.) told reporters.