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Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Ahead of today's historic House vote to impeach Donald John Trump, he dispatched a seething six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi contending that a Democratic "partisan attempted coup" had treated him worse than "those accused in the Salem Witch Trials." She told reporters at the Capitol that the letter was "really sick."

Why it matters: The bitter exchange is a fitting denouement for the 86-day impeachment inquiry, which changed few minds in the country — and none at the Capitol.

  • The process, which is supposed to be the Constitution's death penalty, deepened a divide that has red and blue America speaking what sound to each other like foreign political languages.

House Democratic leaders told caucus members not to cheer or applaud when today's impeachment vote totals are announced, and Democratic members described the day as sad and solemn.

  • One Democratic member from a Trump-won district said the instruction is: "Don’t cheer, keep it solemn."

Centrist Dems dodged reporters in the Capitol halls. But House Democratic leaders told Axios they feel confident and don't expect many defectors.

  • "The sense is that the cake is baked," a source close to President Trump's legal team told Axios. "The only question is if it's one or two Democrats or slightly more who vote against."
  • All but one of the 30 remaining Democrats in Trump-won districts (Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey is switching to the GOP) said they'll vote in favor of both articles of impeachment.

The mood on the Hill shifted this week as the vote neared.

  • Rather than being combative with reporters and each other, members on both sides of the aisle appeared resigned to the fact that the vote's outcome was predetermined, and were going through the motions to make it official.

Impeachment fatigue has been growing, with an incredible change in the audience from the first public hearing to the last.

  • On Day 1, the line of eager people waiting for a chance to sit in on the impeachment proceedings snaked around Longworth House Office Building, and there was an energetic buzz in the air.  
  • But the audience for the last hearing was skimpy, with several open chairs and a sleepy audience.

Go deeper:

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Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.