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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

House Democratic leaders worry impeachment proceedings against President Trump could backfire if they move too fast.

The state of play: They plan to pursue a slow-bleed strategy with lengthy public hearings and scores of witnesses to methodically pick apart Trump's finances and presidency.

  • What's new: In an investigation being coordinated among 6–8 House committees, Trump will essentially be on public trial for months to come, with topics that include abuse of power, obstruction of justice, conflicts of interest (including profit from the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue) and money laundering.
  • Why it matters: Democrats want to create a large, damning public record of testimony, documents and investigative reports. 

Speaker Pelosi and other top Democrats don't want to take up impeachment if it's going to go nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

  • So with huge energy in the party pushing for impeachment, leaders are using the congressional investigation to buy time.
  • A source close to the House leadership told me: "Many in leadership believe impeachment could help Trump get re-elected," and instead will try to "pivot the anger to defeating him on the campaign side next year. ... The last thing they want to do is help Trump like it eventually helped Clinton."

Top Democrats say an opening area of attention is Trump's attacks on the FBI and intelligence agencies, and the long-term ramifications for national security.

  • House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler told George Stephanopoulos yesterday on ABC's "This Week" that the committee will issue document requests today to more than 60 people, including White House and Justice officials, Don Jr., and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
  • Nadler said the mission is "to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power."
  • Nadler said that "to sabotage a fair election would be an impeachable offense," but added: "Impeachment is a long way down the road."

A key part of the House strategy is to engage the public on all those hot topics.

  • So expect lots of public hearings and aggressive pushes for the release of documents, most especially the Mueller report and all the investigative materials that went into it.

Be smart: Garrett M. Graff of WIRED told me the House strategy reflects the fact that what's most likely to move public opinion isn't any single crime or bombshell, but "when a pattern of behavior is so clear it becomes un-defensible."

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.