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House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on September 19, 2019. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, in the aftermath of reports that he pressured Ukraine's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

The big picture: After months of what House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler described as "formal impeachment proceedings" — or months of subpoenas and committee investigations — House Democrats are officially taking the plunge.

Where it stands: House Democrats told Axios' Alayna Treene on Tuesday that leadership did not get into whether there would be a select committee — outside of House Judiciary — focused on impeachment, or how the impeachment process itself is going to work.

  • Pelosi instructed the 6 committees previously charged with investigating Trump to assemble their best cases on the president's potentially impeachable offenses for the Judiciary Committee, per several members in the Speaker's closed-door Tuesday meeting.

Between the lines: The Constitution's standards for impeachment aren't entirely specific. Impeachable offenses like "high crimes and misdemeanors" are not defined within the document — leaving them open to legal analysis. House rules regarding impeachment are mostly based on precedence and past impeachment proceedings.

How an impeachment inquiry starts:
  • As a result of various events, including receiving "information from an outside source," congressional investigations, or a House resolution introducing articles of impeachment.
The House can then begin 3 formal stages of congressional action:
  1. Authorize an impeachment inquiry by directing the Judiciary Committee to investigate the president. The committee can subpoena people or written records, and conduct hearings.
  2. The Judiciary Committee — or another specially selected committee — prepares articles of impeachment in a "markup," and reports them to the House. For the past 2 presidential impeachments, the Judiciary Committee held a public, televised markup of the impeachment articles for several days.
  3. The full House considers the articles of impeachment and, if they are adopted, appoints managers from the committee to present the articles in the Senate. On the House floor, members are encouraged to abstain from language "personally offensive" to the president.

What's next: After the Senate receives the House resolution, the Senate informs the House when it can present the articles of impeachment to the Senate — which is charged in Constitution with trying the president.

Yes, but: There is no "obvious enforcement mechanism" if the Senate majority leader refuses to hold a trial for a president who has been impeached by the House, the New York Times reports.

  • The Senate's impeachment rules of procedure dictate that the Senate will "immediately inform" the House that it is ready to receive managers to exhibit articles of impeachment.

The bottom line: Only 3 presidents have undergone impeachment proceedings. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached in the House and acquitted in the Senate, while Richard Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment.

Go deeper: Impeachment inquiry could be the best way for Democrats to get Trump documents

Go deeper

Rideshare companies say driver shortage is pushing prices up

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's not just you: Uber and Lyft rides are more expensive, company executives said this week.

Why it matters: Demand for rideshare is roaring back as the economy starts to reopen, but the same can't be said for drivers on the apps. That means fewer cars on the road, causing a supply gap that's pushing up prices.

Pelosi slams GOP leadership's moves against Liz Cheney

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week condemned Republican efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House GOP conference chair.

Why it matters: A number of Democrats have spoken out against attempts to punish Cheney for her criticism of former President Trump, framing the discussion as one essential to the maintenance of American democracy.

What to watch in AMLO's meeting with Harris

Three Mexico national guardsmen stand in front of the metro overpass that collapsed onto a busy highway. Photo: Julián Lopez/ Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Joint efforts to stem the increased number of migrants heading to the U.S. will likely be at the top of discussions when Vice President Kamala Harris and Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hold their virtual meeting on Friday.

The big picture: The U.S. government has consistently asked its southern neighbor to prevent immigrants from reaching the border, mostly through threats like former President Trump’s talk of tariffs.

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