Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Throughout former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and even after he delivered the Mueller Report, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was adamantly opposed to impeaching President Donald Trump. But this week, thanks to the Ukraine scandal, Pelosi finally came out in support of an impeachment inquiry — and the 79-year-old Democrat discussed her reasons for changing her mind during a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Speaking to hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski during her first cable news interview since becoming pro-impeachment, Pelosi stressed that coming out in support of an impeachment inquiry was by no means a decision she arrived at lightly.
“This is no cause for overjoy,” Pelosi told Scarborough and Brzezinski in a somber tone. “This is a sad time for the country…. We have to be very prayerful.”
But with the Ukraine scandal, Pelosi lamented, she felt she had no other choice. Trump, according to Pelosi, seriously crossed a line when — during a phone conservation on July 25 — he encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to spy on a political rival: former Vice President Joe Biden.
“This was such a compelling national security issue,” Pelosi asserted. Trump, Pelosi said, “gave us no choice” but to pursue an impeachment inquiry when he “used taxpayer dollars to shake down the leader of another country for political gain.”
“The facts changed the situation, and they cannot be ignored,” the House speaker told Scarborough and Brzezinski.
Scarborough, a Never Trump conservative, recalled that when he was a Republican congressman in 1998, he voted for some articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. Impeachment, Scarborough said, is “such a wrenching process” — and Pelosi responded that she opposed Clinton’s impeachment because it dealt with “personal behavior,” but that Trump has become a threat to “national security” and the system of “checks and balances” in the United States.
“This is not a monarchy,” Pelosi declared. “This is a constitutional republic, if we can keep it.”
When Scarborough mentioned that Attorney General William Barr has turned out to be an unwavering Trump loyalist, Pelosi said of Barr, “He’s gone rogue.”
Pelosi used the word “prayerful” more than once during her “Morning Joe” appearance. The House speaker said, “I prayer for the president all the time” — adding that she also prays for the U.S. republic and the threat it is facing because of Trump’s behavior.