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Lindsey Graham speaking to a crowd. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

President Trump's family separation policy for illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has sparked public outrage among Republican lawmakers.

Why it matters: This wave of Republican rejection puts the Trump administration in a difficult position as House Republicans consider two immigration bills this week — one of which would address the issue, but would likely need Trump's support to be successful.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Trump could "stop this policy with a phone call" on Friday in an interview with CNN. "I'll go tell him. If you don't like families being separated, you can tell DHS stop doing it."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse outlined his feelings on Facebook but gave his "short version" in a tweet: "While there's much to say about how catch-and-release policies led us here, family separation is wicked & needs to be stopped "
  • Sen. Susan Collins said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the policy is "traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims" and "contrary" to the values of the country.
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, along with Collins, wrote a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services with questions about the family separation policy as it applies to asylum seekers.
  • Rep. Mark Meadows said "families need to be unified" and that legislators need to "get to the bottom of it and make sure families stay together" in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
  • Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes a long stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, called the policy "unacceptable" and said children should not be used as a "deterrent policy" in the "home of the free and land of the brave," in an interview with CNN.
  • Sen. James Lankford tweeted that he disagrees with the policy, adding that he believes "we must continue to protect the privacy of the children."

Former First Lady Laura Bush jumped into the fray yesterday, stating that the policy "breaks her heart" and comparing it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. First Lady Melania Trump also issued a statement via her spokeswoman yesterday, saying that the United States needs "to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

Go deeper: Pressure grows on Trump to change border policy for kids.

Go deeper

32 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: His arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.