Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, brushing off new comments by Robert Mueller and 2020 Democratic hopefuls, feels as strongly as ever that impeaching President Trump would be a "fool’s errand," a top ally told Axios. 

Why it matters: Pelosi remains defiant, despite growing calls from fellow Democrats to plunge quickly into impeachment.

  • Ironically, Pelosi is leading the charge against impeachment while GOP Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan is leading the charge for it.

By the numbers: Politico says the whip count in favor of impeachment is 41 House members (42 if you include Amash), representing "fewer than 20% of House Democrats, and less than 10% of the House."

Driving the news: More 2020 candidates spoke favorably of impeachment yesterday after a dramatic 11 a.m. appearance by special counsel Robert Mueller at the Justice Department, where he said charging Trump with a crime was "not an option" because of federal rules.

  • Mueller's crucial quote: "[I]f we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so."
  • Mueller, announcing he was "resigning from the Department of Justice and returning to private life," closed by saying: "[T]here were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American." (Transcript)

What to watch: Ignore the noise from 2020 candidates, outside groups and talking heads. What matters most is if any top Democratic House leaders turn against Pelosi. So far, they are all falling in line. 

  • Speaking at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco after Mueller's statement, Pelosi said the House Democratic chairs will continue to investigate and added: "Nothing is off the table."

Between the lines: People who know Pelosi well tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that she, perhaps uniquely in the Democratic Party, has the power to withstand the growing momentum towards impeachment.

  • And they believe there’s no way House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, whose committee would handle impeachment, would defy her wishes — even if the chorus gets even louder, as long as she put her foot down.

How it's playing ... WashPost 5-column lead story: "Mueller’s remarks fuel impeachment calls."

Go deeper: The new case for impeachment

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's China plan: Bring allies

Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests
  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  3. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.