House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Congresswoman Katherine Clark, vice chair of the Democratic Caucus, spoke with WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu about the announcement and next steps for the House of Representatives. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Mathieu: This is a very important day, as the nation tries to understand everything that's going on here. We understand the White House will be releasing a transcript today of President Trump's call with the president of Ukraine, which of course brought us to this point. Did you not want to wait to see that transcript before launching an inquiry?

Clark: The president has already told us everything we need to know, and he has brought us to this moment of truth. He has admitted that he asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent. And what it boils down to, is that he has put his personal political gain as president of the United States over our national security. So yes, we will read the transcript, we will see what the White House has put together. But we already know from the president himself what has happened here, and the blow that has occurred to the fundamentals of our democracy.

Mathieu: Congresswoman, you're of course part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team, and she was reluctant to get to this point. Having spent the day with her yesterday, I wonder if you could describe her demeanor and what that meeting was like for the Democratic caucus late yesterday afternoon before the speaker addressed the nation?

Clark: I can tell you the meeting was somber, as the weight of opening impeachment proceedings weighed on us. We know the seriousness of this and what this means for our country. But also we're united, and we have watched this president's actions go from bad to worse to worse yet. And we know that the American people told us in the midterms that they want to see corruption out of politics. And this is, at its heart, a story of deep corruption and putting politics and personal gain over patriotism. And we can not let that go unchecked.

So we will move forward with the seriousness and the somberness that this moment in our history demands. But we do it unified in our purpose of protecting national security and the interests of the American people.

Mathieu: A lot of people are asking about timeline, Congresswoman. I know it's very early, but some wonder if this will last essentially for the balance of the election cycle. Are we in for months and months of this?

Clark: We are acting with the urgency that this whistleblower complaint demands. We have a situation that we know that we want to do two things: We want to get the facts out to the American people, and we want to do it as expeditiously as possible. But we cannot write the ending of this story before we start. And yesterday was was an important day in making sure that we restore the right values to our U.S. government. And that is working for the American people, making sure that their voices are heard here, and using the tools that we have been given under the Constitution to rein in a reckless president.

Our founders of this country anticipated this moment, and we will move forward as quickly as we can to get the facts out, to get to the bottom of what has occurred, and to take the next necessary steps where the facts lead us.

Mathieu: Should the American people hear from that whistleblower directly?

Clark: We will have to see. Part of what is so shocking and alarming about this situation is that we have whistleblower laws so that, especially in the intelligence community, we can have a glimpse in if things are going wrong. If things within that community are awry. If there have been violations of the law. And what we've seen here is an administration and a Department of Justice that are acting together to interfere with that whistle blower statute, and to make this a situation where Congress is not getting the information that the law demands. So we will protect that whistleblower from retaliation in every single way that we can, and we'll balance that to reveal as much information to the public as we possibly can. But this is really the, you know, unbelievable new wrinkle in this president's behavior, that where there are clear laws around what actions must be taken, that even when those were fulfilled, when we had the intelligence community say these claims were credible and urgent to protect our national security, this White House and Department of Justice conspired to keep that from Congress and the American people.