Pelosi to Colbert: Impeachment inquiry 'very sad,' but necessary

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides Pelosi slams Trump administration's new water rule: 'An outrageous assault' MORE (D-Calif.) said the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE is a "sad thing" for the country in a Thursday interview after the House voted to approve procedures for the probe. 

"This is a sad thing for our country," Pelosi told comedian Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertInvesting in our people to get the most out of our city Yang: I've received about 12 apologies from media networks during campaign Scarborough to GOP: 'What job is worth selling your political soul over?' MORE. "We do this prayerfully, with great seriousness. Nobody goes to Congress to impeach a president."

The TV host asked Pelosi about her reaction to learning about a July phone call in which President Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE

"I prayed for the United States of America," she replied. "It's very a sad thing. We don't want to impeach a president. We don't want a reality that a president has done something that is in violation of the Constitution." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Some lawmakers had called for impeachment before revelations about the call, but after it, a chorus of Democrats including Pelosi expressed support for an impeachment inquiry. The lawmaker also addressed this in the interview. 

"So much had happened before and I had not been, shall we say, enthusiastic about the divisiveness that would occur," she said. "But this was something that you could not ignore. In one conversation he undermined our national security by withholding military assistance to a country that had been voted on by the Congress of the United States. ... At the same time, he jeopardized the integrity of our elections."

"In doing so, in my view, he possibly violated his oath of office," Pelosi added. 

She also called the call "a smoking gun."

The House voted Thursday, largely along party lines, to approve the impeachment investigation after weeks of witness depositions. One matter Democrats are looking into is whether there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky over the now-released military aid. 

Trump has denied that there was a quid pro quo or that he did anything wrong in his dealings with Ukraine.