Summer’s over on Capitol Hill

It was back to business in Washington this week as Congress returned from its six-week summer recess to get back to work. But it wasn’t exactly business as usual.

House Democrats face a new math equation, now that more than half of the caucus supports impeachment — and that split over how to proceed around impeachment played out in a big way. Depending on who you asked this week, Democrats may — or may not — have made a step forward on impeaching President Donald Trump.

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler on Thursday led his committee to what he called the first vote on impeachment — it’s a largely procedural vote that defined the parameters of an investigation into impeachment.

“Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature,” Nadler said. “But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so.”

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t call it that, literally. In a press conference shortly after the vote, Pelosi swiftly rebuffed efforts by reporters to clarify what exactly the Judiciary Committee had just approved, and refused to call it “impeachment.”

“I support what is happening in the Judiciary Committee that enables them to do their process of interrogation and their investigation, and I salute them for that work,” Pelosi said.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration weighs how to act on gun violence (and with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell making it clear all he needs is a signal from the White House).

Trump’s administration also moved to ban flavored e-cigarettes, with the President promising that the US Food and Drug Administration would be putting out “some very strong recommendations” regarding the use of flavored e-cigarettes in “a couple of weeks.”

At last, the news cycle around Trump and whether Hurricane Dorian would affect Alabama died down. Trump traveled to Baltimore for a GOP retreat and returned to his criticism of a recent favorite: Energy-efficient light bulbs.

The Point: Professional Washington is back — and just as dysfunctional as ever.

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

And that was the week in 18 headlines.

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