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Vox Sentences: The dam breaks on impeachment

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House Democrats start an impeachment inquiry; Puerto Rico prepares for another tropical storm after avoiding an earthquake.

“No one is above the law”

  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Tuesday evening — a watershed event that might not ultimately lead to the president’s impeachment, but starts a process that could end up there. [NYT / Nicholas Fandos]
  • Pelosi’s announcement is the result of a shift on impeachment that happened gradually, then all at once. Here’s how. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • ”This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand,” seven first-term members of Congress from swing districts wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Monday night, later adding: “If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.” [Washington Post]
  • The latest fight is over how much information will be released about the complaint. Trump said he’d release the transcript of his call with Ukranian leader. House Democrats are demanding to see the full whistleblower complaint. [NPR / Tamara Keith]
  • The Judiciary Committee was already working on an impeachment investigation, but it wasn’t a formal impeachment inquiry. The distinction matters! [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Expect much more reporting over the coming days about what changed Democrats’ minds — but Vox’s Zack Beauchamp, explaining why he abandoned his own skepticism of the strategy, put it this way: “There is now an obvious and immediate pragmatic upside to impeachment: stopping an ongoing abuse of presidential power that could undermine the integrity of the 2020 election.” [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]

Rumble and storm

  • An earthquake of 6.0 magnitude struck some 49 miles off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico late Monday, leaving no immediate damage to the island or threat of a tsunami. No casualties were reported. [AP / Dánica Coto]
  • Authorities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are on alert as they brace for Karen, now a tropical storm. It’s expected to hit the islands on Tuesday. [NPR / Paolo Zialcita]
  • According to the New York Times, up to 30,000 residents who survived Hurricane Maria two years ago still live under leaky tarps. With Karen looming and life-threatening mudslides possible, many people’s lives may be in danger. [NYT / Amy Harmon and Patricia Mazzei]
  • The devastation from Maria likely caused around $90 billion of damages on the island. The Trump administration recently announced the reallocation of $3.6 billion toward construction of the border wall, $400 million of which came from Puerto Rico’s recovery fund. [Vox / Alex Ward]


  • Antonio Brown, the former Patriots wide receiver who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by his former trainer, has reenrolled at Central Michigan University, where he studied before being drafted. [ESPN]
  • Six months around the world ... on a gyrocopter. A British man became the first person to circumnavigate the globe — narrowly escaping a lightning strike during the last leg of his trip — in the miniature aircraft, which has a cockpit exposed to the elements. [CNN / Rob Picheta]
  • Activists in Washington, DC, who blocked traffic and protested lawmakers’ inaction against climate change Monday — as the United Nations Climate Action Summit ended in New York — will take to the streets again on Friday. [Washingtonian / Jane Recker]
  • Boiling an egg is the first step on any amateur cook’s road toward culinary success. This chef says he has the perfect recipe. [NYT / J. Kenji López-Alt]


“If you see an officer delivering your packages say hello!” [After a groundskeeper discovered a bunch of Amazon packages at a cemetery, police authorities took on the task of delivering them / AP]

Listen to this: Pelosi calls for impeachment inquiry

On Today, Explained, Vox’s Andrew Prokop tells us how everything changed on the impeachment question in 24 hours. Spotify | Apple Podcasts

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