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Mitt Romney. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Image

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is standing as a maverick in his party, coming out as one of few Republicans to openly question President Trump's disputed conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Driving the news: Romney tweeted last Sunday: "If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme." He also told NBC on Monday that Trump should make the whistleblower complaint available to Congress because it would be "very helpful to get [to] the bottom of the facts."

  • A summary of the call released by the Trump administration on Wednesday shows that the president asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."
— President Trump

Shortly after the transcript's release, Romney spoke at The Atlantic Festival about why he's pushing back against the president, stating:

"I think it’s very natural for people to look at circumstances and see them in the light that’s most amenable to their maintaining power, and doing things to preserve that power."

Context: Trump and Romney have a rocky history. In 2016, Romney called Trump "a fraud" and attempted to rally voters behind one of Trump's primary competitors. But shortly after Trump's election, the 2 seemingly rekindled their relationship, as Trump met with Romney while mulling over Cabinet nominees and later endorsed him in Romney's 2018 Senate bid.

Between the lines:

  • Wednesday's transcript release and subsequent fallout comes after the announcement that the House will launch a formal impeachment inquiry against the president.
  • Articles of impeachment would ultimately be decided by a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. For now, it seems unlikely the Senate will enter a judgment to convict.

Go deeper: How an impeachment inquiry works

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.