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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some House Democrats are convinced that they'd have better luck getting testimony and documents if they launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump — which is why they've been pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi so hard.

Reality check: It's not like the Trump administration would suddenly drop its fight against Congress and dump a bunch of documents in Pelosi's arms. The big difference between an impeachment inquiry and a regular investigation, legal experts say, is that Congress might have a stronger hand in the courts to get some of the information it wants.

"If you have an impeachment proceeding, Congress is at the zenith of its power," said Michael Conway, a former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.

The two big differences:

1) Grand jury material: The courts would be more likely to rule that Congress' need to see grand jury materials — the kind of references that were redacted in the Mueller report — overrides the federal rule that requires those materials to be kept secret.

  • That's what happened during Watergate, Conway said, in a critical ruling by a federal judge that allowed the Judiciary Committee to see a grand jury report. (Conway wrote more about that ruling and others here.)

2) Legislative purpose: It would be harder for the Trump administration to win a court fight by arguing that Congress doesn't have a "legitimate legislative purpose," the reason Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cited in his decision not to release Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

  • No one questions the congressional power to impeach, so launching an impeachment inquiry "removes whatever doubt a court might otherwise have about the existence of a legitimate Article I purpose for demanding information of limited facial relevance to possible congressional legislation," Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe wrote in an email.

The bottom line: None of this affects the political decision of whether it's wise for House Democrats to move ahead. Pelosi says it isn't, and so far most of the Democratic committee chairs are siding with her. But it's not clear how long they'll be able to resist the pressure.

Go deeper: Which House Democrats are calling for Trump's impeachment

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated 35 mins ago - Science

NASA's delays Mars helicopter test flight

Ingenuity (left) with Perseverance on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA announced Saturday it rescheduled its Ingenuity Mars helicopter's first experimental flight, originally planned for Sunday.

The latest: "During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration," NASA said in a statement. "This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode."

Scoop: Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel escorted out of RNC retreat

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel. Photo: Chris Maddaloni / Getty Images

During this weekend’s highly anticipated donor retreat hosted by the Republican National Committee in Palm Beach, Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel was escorted off the premises while his primary opponent, Jane Timken, was allowed to stay, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: The invitation-only event is taking place at the Four Seasons Resort, and the RNC reserved the entire hotel. While Timken, former Ohio GOP chair, was invited to the event “because she is a major donor” — Mandel was not, so he was asked to leave, according to one of the sources.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Report: John Kerry plans to visit China ahead of Biden's climate summit

John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.