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House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that if the allegations that President Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden are true, then Democrats may have no other choice than to impeach him.

"The president is pushing us down this road and if in particular — after having sought foreign assistance and welcomed foreign assistant in the last presidential campaign as a candidate, he is now doing the same thing again but now using the power of the presidency — then he may force us to go down this road. I've spoken with a number of colleagues over the last week and this seems different in kind and we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here."

Why it matters: Schiff has been one of the key senior members of Democratic leadership — along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to resist endorsing impeachment without public support. This has put him at odds with over half the Democratic caucus and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who has said his committee is already conducting an "impeachment investigation."

  • Schiff acknowledged that it's not clear yet whether Trump's alleged pressure on Ukraine is at the center of the whistleblower complaint that set off this controversy, but said that it would nonetheless be "the most profound violation of the presidential oath...perhaps during any presidency. There is no privilege to engage in underhanded discussions."

Between the lines: Pelosi knew Schiff's impeachment comments were coming. She and Schiff spoke this weekend about Ukraine and coordinated their responses, a source familiar with their conversation tells Axios' Alayna Treene.

The other side: Trump told reporters before boarding a flight on Sunday that the conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was perfectly legitimate: "[It] was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don't want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.“

  • Schiff called on Trump to release the transcript of the call after the president claimed that there was no "quid pro quo" involved in their discussion about Biden: "Clearly he's afraid for the public to see."

Go deeper: Read the intel watchdog's letters about "urgent" whistleblower complaint

Go deeper

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.