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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

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.