Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media Sept. 17. Washington, D.C. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused House Democrats of a "rush to judgment," as he led Republican attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement of the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Why it matters: Articles of impeachment would ultimately be decided by a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

  • Per the New York Times, there is no "obvious enforcement mechanism" if McConnell were to refuse to hold a trial for a president impeached by the House.

The big picture: The allegations that Trump may have pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden led to swing district Democrats and influential holdouts to endorse impeachment, prompting to Pelosi to act.

  • McConnell noted that the Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution calling for the White House to release to the Senate Intelligence Committee the whistleblower complaint that allegedly involves Trump and Ukraine.

What they're saying: Trump loyalists like Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were confident any articles of impeachment would be quashed in the chamber, according to The Hill.

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, told the news outlet, "You can’t tell me they’re talking about impeachment when the president is cooperating with them 100 percent to release these things. It’s premature to talk about impeachment."
  • Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) told Politico the Democrats' action was putting them "on a path to re-elect the president."

Yes, but: Some Republicans have been more cautious in their approach. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has led the charge on the issue, calling for the release of the whistleblower complaint, adding that it would be "very helpful to get [to] the bottom of the facts."

  • Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) suggested while meeting with the caucus on Tuesday afternoon "that we get the facts before people start jumping to conclusions," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told Politico that Trump's conversations with Zelensky about Biden and his son, along with reports of the whistleblower complaint, were a "serious issue."
  • Gardner declined to say whether he still supported the president's re-election, telling Politico, "Let’s find out what’s happening. Let’s get to the bottom of this."

Go deeper:

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Deadly storm Zeta pummels parts of Alabama and Florida

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Former Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm's powerful winds and heavy rainfall moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. 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 Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

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