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Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Staff/Getty Images

The number of House Democrats who have publicly expressed support for an impeachment inquiry has quietly crept up to 117 — an average of one a day for the month of July that brings the caucus one short of a majority, just in time for August recess.

Why it matters: The slow-drip of lawmakers joining the impeachment fray, boosted in waves by the Mueller hearings and President Trump's racist outbursts, disguises the reality that momentum has tilted squarely in favor of a formal inquiry.

Driving the news: Florida Rep. Ted Deutch wrote in the Sun Sentinel this morning that "the question is no longer whether the House should vote to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry. The inquiry has already begun."

  • Deutch is referencing a recent court filing in which the House Judiciary Committee wrote that it had already begun "investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment."

The big picture: Deutch, the chairman of the House Ethics Committee and a member of House Judiciary, is not the only influential Democrat to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry this week.

Between the lines: Many have viewed Pelosi's reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings as a means of protecting the swing-district Democrats who were key to winning back the House majority in November. But if those very lawmakers are taking it upon themselves to call for impeachment, Pelosi may soon find her stance obsolete.

What to watch: The fall is widely seen as Democrats' last chance to move forward with a formal inquiry before election season begins in earnest. As members return home, four national progressive groups tell BuzzFeed News they're launching a campaign to pressure wary Democrats on their impeachment stances through town halls and local events.

  • Keep an eye on Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (Ga.), says Politico's Kyle Cheney.
  • "Luján’s support for impeachment proceedings could help unlock the backing of a slew of freshman Democrats who Luján helped get elected in 2016, when he ran Democrats’ campaign arm ... And Lewis’ support would carry significant sway with members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have remained on the fence so far."

Go deeper: The impeachment whip list

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.