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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

More momentum built yesterday among Democrats for impeachment proceedings than on any other single day of the Trump presidency.

Why it matters: One summer phone call by President Trump is proving to be more of an impeachment catalyst for House Democrats than two years of drip-drip revelations from Robert Mueller's investigation. Today, the behind-the-scenes action could burst into view.

  • "The horse is out of the barn," tweeted Geoff Garin, a pollster for House Democrats. "Saddle up."

What's happening: Pelosi meets today with her six committee chairs leading different strands of the Trump investigation.

  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a 28-year House veteran and Pelosi ally, issued a statement yesterday calling Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president "a new chapter in Trump’s egregious conduct," "a reckless abuse of power" and "a turning point."
  • Last night, seven freshman Democrats — all with military and national security backgrounds — published a Washington Post op-ed saying it will be "an impeachable offense" if, as alleged about the Ukraine phone call, Trump "used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and ... sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage."

Pelosi, who has tried to tamp down impeachment fever, talked privately yesterday with lawmakers and allies about where they are on impeachment in light of the Ukraine revelations, to gauge whether there is a broad shift within the caucus, sources tell Axios.

  • "The Speaker is a numbers girl," a Democratic leadership aide said. "The public sentiment has to be there."

Between the lines: You could see the dam breaking Sunday, when House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff took a newly aggressive stance on impeachment — comments he made, Axios reported, after consulting Pelosi.

  • One of the main drivers of Pelosi’s reluctance to embrace impeachment was to protect moderate freshmen in swing districts who won her the majority in 2018. But some of those vulnerable Dems joined last night's op-ed.

The backdrop: All of this is unfolding while Trump is in New York meeting with foreign leaders at the UN General Assembly.

  • The president has complained in the past when controversies distract from the narrative he wants when he is with other heads of state. 

Why Ukraine is different: The Mueller investigation played out through press reports and occasional indictments across two years — softening the blow from the most damning revelations.

  • The Ukraine story has unfolded in less than a week.

What to watch: House Democrats meet today, and members will be swarmed by reporters. On Thursday, Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, will testify in open session before the House Intelligence Committee.

  • Maguire will be asked about an intel whistleblower's complaint that may have been triggered by the Ukraine conversation. His answers — or even non-answers — could be impeachment bait for Democrats.
  • Later this week, Trump is to meet at the UN with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was on the other end of the phone call.

Go deeper: Trump's defiance on Ukraine

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Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 3 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

4 hours ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.