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Impeachment inquiry likely to move faster than House lawsuits, making some moot
Intelligence Committee may not go to court if administration stonewalls its subpoenas

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff plans to remain in Washington through part of the break to schedule hearings and witness interviews and potentially prepare subpoenas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats expect their impeachment inquiry to outpace ongoing court cases that were once seen as critical to their investigations into President Donald Trump.

That means some of those lawsuits — teed up as major separation-of-powers battles between the House and the Trump administration — could fizzle out or end up being dropped.

Democrats focusing impeachment inquiry on Trump pressuring Ukraine
With pivot from obstruction and corruption, Intelligence Committee steps into impeachment case spotlight

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol regarding the transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President  Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. (Tom William/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are focusing their impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, shifting the investigatory spotlight from the Judiciary Committee to the Intelligence Committee and providing a singular focus on which they can make the case for impeachment to the public.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement that she has directed the six House committees investigating Trump to proceed under the “umbrella” of an “official impeachment inquiry” led to some confusion about what had changed, given that the Judiciary Committee had been conducting an impeachment investigation for months.

Crime or ‘high crime?’ Trump’s Ukraine call spurs legal debate
At heart of dispute is when does seeking foreign assistance in an election cross the line

Attorney General William Barr testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Justice Department sparked fresh debate Wednesday about when seeking foreign assistance in an election becomes a federal crime, with officials deciding President Donald Trump did not cross a legal line in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy now at the center of a Democratic push toward impeachment.

The department said its review of the call — in which Trump asked Ukraine to “do us a favor” and talk to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr about opening a potential corruption investigation connected to Trump’s main political rival — did not find a “thing of value” that could be quantified as campaign finance law requires.

Not much changes with 'official' impeachment inquiry, for now
Pelosi appears to double down on approach that has fallen short of raising public support

Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks with her Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hamill past the Sir Winston Churchill bust as she exits the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Tuesday that the House is in an “official impeachment inquiry” gave no hints of how or whether it would accelerate any Democratic effort to remove President Donald Trump from office.

Pelosi said she directed the six House committees conducting oversight of the Trump administration to move forward “under that umbrella” of an impeachment inquiry — but gave no details about how the day-to-day approach would differ.

Member lapel pins out, necklaces in, say women in Congress
Fashion sense, practicality cited as reasons for growing trend

Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says people are noticing female lawmakers wearing their member pins as necklace pendants because there are more women in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While big jewelry and bold statement chains made headlines last week during New York Fashion Week, an increasing number of women in the House are starting a fashion trend of their own: wearing their member pins as a necklace pendant.

Traditionally, the House member pin, given out to lawmakers to distinguish them from staffers and visitors, is worn pierced through fabric as its menswear name suggests — on a suit lapel. While members are not required to wear them, the pins can be an easy way for the Capitol Police to identify the freshman class of lawmakers each Congress — or perhaps some of the more obscure members of the House.

Democrats still not working off same playbook on impeachment
Mixed messages abound about whether Judiciary is in an impeachment inquiry and where it’s headed

House Judiciary member David Ciccilline says Thursday’s resolution aims to identify what the Democrats are doing and will give “some additional authority to the chairman and to counsel.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are struggling to speak with one voice about impeachment, as members returned to Washington this week with mixed messages about whether the Judiciary Committee is already engaged in an impeachment inquiry and where that investigation is headed. 

Judiciary Democrats almost uniformly agree that their panel’s expanding investigation into President Donald Trump’s alleged crimes and abuse of power is an impeachment inquiry. Any disagreement about that definition that may exist among those two dozen members will likely be brought to light Thursday as the committee marks up a resolution defining procedures for its investigation.

Photos of the Week: Stewart smirks, Stevens at rest and Mueller milieu
The week of July 26 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday. The Senate voted 97-2 later in the day to pass HR 1327 — a bill that would authorize funding for 9/11 first responders to be compensated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a week for the history books on Capitol Hill. 

Washingtonians said goodbye to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who died July 16 at age 99. Many on the Hill smirked at Jon Stewart’s now-famous smirk and, of course, the nation mulled over the Robert S. Mueller III hearings in the House.

Russians will interfere again, maybe others too, Mueller warns
Mueller said it was unusual for a prosecutor to testify before Congress, said he would not comment on counterintelligence questions

Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” in Washington on Tuesday, July 24, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III told lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia, and possibly other countries, are looking to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections.

During his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on the outcome of his investigation into Russia and links to the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, Mueller urged Congress to require U.S. intelligence agencies to work together to stop such efforts.

Mueller shuns spotlight, but says probe didn’t ‘exonerate’ Trump
President has claimed investigation cleared him of obstruction of justice

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller leaves the witness table for a recess in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a day House Democrats hoped Robert S. Mueller III’s televised testimony Wednesday would animate the special counsel’s 448-page report for the nation, the star witness eschewed the leading role with a muted performance with few soundbites during the first of two back-to-back hearings.

Mueller’s answers were concise. He often said simply, “True,” or “I rely on the language of the report.” The 74-year-old gray-haired Marine veteran and former FBI director frequently didn’t speak into the mic.

When Kamala Harris lost on election night, but won three weeks later
Her nail-biting 2010 victory for California attorney general raised her national profile

Kamala Harris, here campaigning in Los Angeles in September 2010, came under fire in her race for state attorney for her record as San Francisco district attorney. (Jason Redmond/AP file photo)

This is the fourth installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

In November 2008, Kamala Harris was sprinting through Burbank airport with her campaign adviser, Ace Smith.