SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump gave a shoutout to a former Utah congressman who defended his being open to foreign opposition research on his political opponents.
"Thank you Jason Chaffetz!" Trump tweeted, along with a video clip of Chaffetz on Fox News.
"This faux, this fake outrage from the left and the media is just part of a pattern here," said Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor. "They are faking the idea that they are exasperated by the president's answer. Of course he can listen."
Also, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said it would be "foolish" for a president not to accept credible information from a foreign ally.
Outrage, however, isn't just coming from Democrats or the press.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was among a number of Republicans who lashed out at Trump over his comments.
“Accepting the work product of a foreign government or the effort of a foreign government to try and influence an election of one candidate or another? It simply strikes at the heart of our democracy,” Romney told Politico. “It’s wrong. It’s antithetical to our democratic principles.”
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday, Trump said he’d likely take foreign dirt if offered and “go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong.”
"I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen," Trump told Stephanopoulos. "There's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country — Norway — 'We have information on your opponent.' Oh. I think I'd want to hear it."
On Friday, though, Trump said on "Fox and Friends" that “of course” he would alert the FBI in such a case, but only after reviewing the information “because if you don't look at it, you won't know it's bad.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one Trump's closest allies, urged him directly after the ABC News interview to rethink his willingness to use foreign opposition research, according to Politico.
“The law is pretty clear. You can’t take anything of value from a foreign government,” Graham said he told Trump. “He says, ‘I didn’t say I did.’ I said: ‘Sitting down and talking to somebody’s not a crime, but it’s probably not a good idea. … I don’t agree with you.’”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it "disgraceful," according to Politico.
Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday a president accepting information from a foreign country depends on what it is and where it comes from.
"There might be valuable information that comes from one of our allies. If they look at it and it's credible, I think we'd be foolish not to take that information," he told Jim Sciutto on CNN.
Chaffetz said it's "just fine" that Trump said he would both listen and go to the FBI, and then later in the Stephanopoulos interview "maybe" go to the FBI. He said Hillary Clinton spent millions to engage a foreign national to dig up dirt on her opponent.
"The president isn't suggesting that he would proactively do that, but if somebody approached him, every single campaign I know of would listen to that material first. They absolutely would," he said.
Stewart, too, mentioned Clinton, telling CNN, "Don't you see the irony of those who criticizing the president for something he said and not criticizing Hilary Clinton and the Democrats for something they actually did?"
Chaffetz also responded to a tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren saying special counsel Robert Mueller's report made it clear that Trump welcomed foreign help, that he'd do it again and it's time to impeach him.
"For the president to say he would listen, they're going to impeach him for that?" he said. "You know what? I'm tired of the impeachment talk. If they're going to impeach him, go ahead and do it. Go ahead and look at the Mueller report because it exonerates the president."
Utah Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams said in a tweet he agrees with leaders who condemned Trump.
"Our President should never accept help from a foreign power to win an election and any meddling must be reported to law enforcement," he tweeted. "Americans, and only Americans, should choose our leaders. To do otherwise is unethical and illegal."