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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sunday responded to allegations that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, condemning them as "troubling in the extreme" and tweeting that it's "[c]ritical for the facts to come out."

Why it matters: Romney's comments are the harshest to come from a Republican senator thus far, with others largely remaining silent or dismissing the allegations as gossip. It's worth noting, however, that both Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed on Sunday that the president discussed Biden during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky, though they contend that there was no "quid pro quo" involved.

The big picture: This is not the first time that Romney, a former presidential candidate, has spoken out against Trump. After the release of the redacted Mueller report in April, Romney tweeted that he was "sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President."

  • But despite his condemnation of Trump's behavior at various points, Romney has never gone as far as Democrats in specifically calling for Trump to be investigated or impeached.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that if the administration continues to block a whistleblower complaint involving Trump and Ukraine from being released, "they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation."

Go deeper: Trump confirms he discussed Biden with Ukrainian president

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
19 mins ago - Health

When vaccine hesitancy becomes political

Data: CDC and New York Times; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The counties with the most vaccine-hesitant residents generally also voted for Donald Trump in 2020 by large margins, whereas the counties with the lowest levels of hesitancy generally also had fewer Trump voters.

Why it matters: Your politics don't have anything to do with whether you're vulnerable to the coronavirus if you remain unvaccinated.