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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House's formal impeachment inquiry is just 10 days old, but has swiftly transcended D.C. inertia and swept in huge swaths of America's government.

Why it matters: We thought nothing could break through Washington gridlock, nothing could stick to Trump, and nothing could command sustained attention in this media environment.

  • Those "certainties" could turn out to be wrong, wrong and wrong.

The state of play: Vice President Pence's role suddenly became a major issue; President Trump seethed about the investigators during an appearance with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö; and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about the Ukraine call while appearing in Rome with his Italian counterpart.

  • That was all yesterday. For good measure, a Trump tweet included the word "BULLSHIT" — all caps.
  • Other parts of government that are ensnared: An intelligence community whistleblower lit the fire; Attorney General William Barr has been a central figure from the get-go; impeachment is an issue for senators and others on the 2020 trail in a way that the Mueller investigation never was; and most other Capitol Hill business has been drowned out.

Two things we learned yesterday:

1) House Democratic leaders struck a tough, insistent tone, and committees are threatening the White House with subpoenas if it doesn't meet tight timelines.

  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said: "We’re not fooling around here."
  • Speaker Pelosi said on a call with the House Democratic Caucus, according to a readout from her office: "I think that our Chairman [Schiff] used a really good word for Barr and Pompeo and Giuliani, and they are, henchmen."

2) Trump, who always needs a foil, and his media chorus are trying to make Schiff the face of the inquiry, way more than Pelosi.

  • Trump, who has suggested arresting Schiff for treason, said: "We don't call him 'Shifty Schiff' for nothing. He's a shifty, dishonest guy."

What's next: Congress hears its first impeachment witness today.

  • Kurt Volker, the special U.S. envoy to Ukraine until he resigned last week, was little known outside of foreign policy circles. Now a central figure in the early stage of the inquiry, he's scheduled to testify in private today. (AP)

Go deeper: Tweets, threats and truth

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Go deeper

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

1 hour ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase heads to Wall Street

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to go public today at what could be a valuation north of $100 billion.

Why it matters: This gives crypto a Wall Street seal of legitimacy, after an early existence marred by ties to illicit goods.