President Trump and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Photo: Drew Angerer, Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney condemned President Trump's "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine" on Friday in a tweet, saying it's "wrong and appalling" to ask foreign countries to investigate 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Romney, who criticized the Trump-Ukraine allegations after reading the whistleblower complaint, is one of the first Republican senators to denounce Trump's call on China and Ukraine to investigate his political opponent.

"When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China’s investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated."

On Thursday, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska denounced Trump's push for China to investigate the former vice president, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

“Hold up: Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws by selling his name to Beijing, that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps."
— Sasse wrote to the Herald

Go deeper: Senate's new maverick Republican: Mitt Romney and the whistleblower complaint

Go deeper

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of noon ET: 20,391,697 — Total deaths: 744,211— Total recoveries: 12,625,076Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 5,161,612 — Total deaths: 164,690 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  5. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
  6. World: Lebanon reports coronavirus record, UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher
57 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.