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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) said the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 ColbertBrokaw: Impeachment process is making 'eyes glaze over' Schiff returning to 'The Late Show' Clinton still 'disappointed' Sanders held off on endorsing her in 2016 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 BidenSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Democrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  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." 

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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.