Pelosi’s Leap on Impeachment: From No Go to No Choice

Earlier, Ms. Pelosi struck a somber tone as she announced that the House would move forward with impeachment articles. Her brief speech, delivered from a teleprompter against the backdrop of a row of six American flags in a corridor outside her office suite in the Capitol, was the speaker’s equivalent of a presidential address from the Oval Office. She chose the same spot, and the same format, when she announced the opening of the House inquiry in September, days after she saw the headline that persuaded her to move forward.

“She’s fond of quoting Thomas Paine, ‘The times have found us,’” Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview. “But they have found no one more than her. She really was made for this hour, but I think she also recognized when that hour was right for the country to go down this road to impeachment.”

Ms. Pelosi has kept a tight rein on the impeachment process. On the night before the Intelligence Committee convened its first public impeachment hearing last month, the speaker line-edited Mr. Schiff’s opening statement, suggesting that he change a word to sharpen his point.

Mr. Schiff planned to introduce Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., the top diplomat in Ukraine who was a crucial witness, as a graduate of West Point. She changed “was” to “is,” arguing that the present tense made for a stronger credential.

“She has been very hands-on,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and a member of the Judiciary Committee who also leads the House Progressive Caucus. “She knows exactly what’s happening or her office is involved in all of the decisions, and she works to try to find a balance where the caucus will come together.”

“Once the speaker is on board with a strategy,” Ms. Jayapal added, “she is completely on board.”

From the very day that Democrats took power in Washington in January — and even before — Ms. Pelosi has faced pressures from all sides of her caucus. On her left, Representative Rashida Tlaib, the liberal firebrand freshman from Michigan who campaigned on a vow to impeach the president, was caught on videotape using an expletive for Mr. Trump as she described her desire to oust him from office.