Jerry Nadler and Democrats on House Judiciary Committee Friday, July 26. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said at a Friday press briefing that his committee is petitioning for Robert Mueller's grand jury material, including testimony from former White House counsel Donald McGahn.

What it means: Nadler said his committee is “in effect” carrying out an impeachment inquiry, "but stressed that it differs from that because other outcomes are possible," per the Washington Post. Nadler is "attempting to sidestep a debate raging inside his party over whether the House should hold a vote to formally declare that it is opening an impeachment inquiry," the NYT reports.

What they're saying: “I would say we are in an impeachment investigation, and as to the results of the investigation, it could lead to articles of impeachment or something else,” House Judiciary member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said on Friday.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) agreed with Raskin, and several junior committee members told reporters the same thing — that this filing essentially launched an "impeachment investigation."
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi approved the language in Friday's lawsuit, according to a source familiar with its drafting, the Times reports.

The bottom line: Constitutional and judicial precedent suggest the House can launch impeachment investigations in many ways — and, "There is no formal rule that says the full House must formally authorize an impeachment inquiry for the committee to conduct one," per the Times.

Go deeper: Where grand jury material fits in the new case for impeachment

Go deeper

Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.