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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

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.