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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A president who has always been touchy about his legitimacy is now the fourth American president to face the machinery of impeachment.

Why it matters: Thirteen months out from a presidential election, Congress and the commander-in-chief of a divided nation are formally at war.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced "an official impeachment inquiry" at 5pm Tuesday, with the broadcast networks breaking in across the country:

"The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law. Getting back to our founders in the darkest days of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine wrote, 'The times have found us.' The times found them to fight for and establish our democracy. The times have found us today."
  • With President Trump tweeting peevishly from New York, where he spoke in the morning to the UN General Assembly, Pelosi pointed to a July phone call in which the president is said to have pressed the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, which could have helped Trump in 2020.

Being there: Around 120 reporters crowded into the hallways in the Capitol basement, waiting for the House Democratic Caucus to disperse from the meeting where Pelosi announced her support for an impeachment inquiry.

  • At the Capitol, House Democrats were relieved, rejuvenated and even overjoyed that for the first time since Pelosi took the gavel in January, the caucus was unified on Trump.
  • "This puts the party in a new direction," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the star of the freshman class. "The power behind that, and the weight behind that adds an urgency and an expeditiousness to the investigations that I don’t believe we would’ve seen."

On the Republican side, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said: "A lot of my colleagues are excited about how crazy they think it is. I talked to a lot of people who were like: 'Wow, unbelievable.' I think both sides are getting locked and loaded to do some battle here."

What to watch: Today, the House will vote on a resolution demanding that Trump release the whistleblower complaint regarding the president and Ukraine.

  • Thursday, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire will testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the whistleblower could testify before Congress as soon as this week.

Go deeper: How an impeachment inquiry works

Go deeper

Facebook fights for its image

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook is ditching apologies and taking a more combative stance against its critics as it faces a new barrage of negative coverage and leaked internal reports.

Driving the news: As part of the new posture, Facebook started testing placing positive messages about itself in users' News Feeds last month, according to a New York Times story Tuesday.

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Charter schools boomed during the pandemic

Expand chart
Data: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

Charter schools picked off hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Why it matters: The pandemic has weakened America's public education system, as Zoom classes, teacher fatigue and student disengagement take their toll. And that hobbled system is shedding students to charter schools, private schools and homeschooling.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."