Former FBI Director James Comey said he hopes Congress will not ultimately impeach President Trump, saying it would too easily let the American people "off the hook."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday announced a formal impeachment inquiry, saying "the president must be held accountable" for his "betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and the betrayal of the integrity of our elections."
Invoking the "darkest days of the American Revolution," Pelosi called on lawmakers to honor their constitutional oath to protect the country "from all enemies, foreign and domestic."
"This week, the president has admitted to asking the president of Ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically," Pelosi said. "Therefore, today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella.
"The president must be held accountable," she continued. "No one is above the law."
During an interview earlier Tuesday with KCRA-TV, Comey suggested that impeaching Trump would be the wrong decision.
"He definitely engaged in conduct that was laid out in the Mueller report that is deeply concerning, instances of obstruction of justice, but really Congress should figure out whether that triggers impeachment," said Comey, who was fired by the president.
"As a citizen, I kind of hope not because I think the American people would be let off the hook if Donald Trump were impeached and removed from office and a lot of his supporters would think some sort of coup had taken place."
"We need to take responsibility for this and vote next November and show that we have a certain set of values and we insist that our leaders reflect those values."