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Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

President Trump referred to Mitt Romney as a "pompous ass" on Saturday in response to the Republican senator's criticism of Trump for his "brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine" to investigate the Bidens.

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 calls for China or Ukraine to investigate one of his top 2020 rivals.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Background: Trump told reporters this week that China should launch an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, though he noted he hasn't yet asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to do so. Trump argued on Saturday that his previous statement "pertained to corruption, not politics."

  • Trump is currently facing a House impeachment inquiry following a whistleblower complaint that alleges the president used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election."
  • Officials named in the whistleblower complaint drafted a statement in August committing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Ukrainian energy company for which Hunter Biden previously served on the board.

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

Go deeper

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.