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Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members Friday that Congress will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if he does not leave office "imminently and willingly."

Driving the news: House Democrats had a caucus call at noon to discuss the topic of impeachment. Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told CNN that Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the House floor as soon as "mid-next week" if Vice President Pence and Cabinet members do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

Pelosi also wrote in the letter that she had reached out to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to discuss preventing an "unhinged" Trump from accessing the nuclear codes.

  • "Nearly fifty years ago, after years of enabling their rogue President, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go," Pelosi wrote.
  • "Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately."

Between the lines: Lack of time may be the only thing that saves President Trump from becoming the first U.S. president to be impeached a second time, Hill sources tell Axios.

The big picture: Republicans are openly abandoning him. Top officials are resigning. Talk is rising of a second impeachment, or removal from office via the 25th Amendment.

  • Trump's national security team has begun operating as if he weren’t the president, but rather a guy in the White House who needs to be carefully managed, Jonathan Swan reports.

So 61 days after President-elect Biden was declared the winner, Trump was spooked into the concession he never wanted to give, saying on a video last night:

  • "A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20," he said, reading from a teleprompter. "My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation."

Here's what implosion looks like:

  • Two of Trump's Cabinet secretaries — Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — resigned in one day.
  • Both Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for Vice President Pence and members of Trump's Cabinet to remove him via the 25th Amendment.
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump's conduct the day of the riot "was a betrayal of his office and supporters."
  • Retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump's former White House chief of staff, told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump is "a laughingstock now." Tapper asked: "If you were in the Cabinet right now, would you vote to remove him from office?" Kelly hesitated a split-second, then said: "Yes, I would."
  • A Republican congressman said Trump should be removed via the 25th Amendment — Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who said he has become “unmoored” from reality.
  • The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, run by Trump's former confidant Rupert Murdoch, calls today for Trump to resign to avoid a second impeachment: "[I]t would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate."
  • Today's USA Today editorial page: "Invoke the 25th Amendment."

The bottom line: A senior administration official tells me Trump finally conceded because he has "no friends left. He could feel it all slipping away."

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Go deeper

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.