U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi painted herself as a once-reluctant but now fully engaged general amid her party's push for an impeachment inquiry, in an onstage interview at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday.
To make her point, she used sweeping, solemn language to underscore her view that what is happening at the U.S. Capitol is an existential moment in American history.
"If this activity, this pattern of behavior were to prevail ... then it's over for the republic," she said. "We will have the equivalent of a monarchy."
"Let us be prayerful. Let us be solemn. Let us try not to make it further divisive," she added. "But we cannot ignore our oath of office to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic."
In her most extensive interview about impeachment since she announced plans to open an inquiry this week, Pelosi described herself as "heartbroken" over the revelation that President Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. White House disclosures of the conversation — and that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine prior to the conversation — unleashed a firestorm in Washington last week.
"I think right now there is a cover-up of a cover-up," she said.
When asked why she moved from the strongest backstop against impeachment to the leader of the effort, she chose brevity: "The facts."