Rep. Jason Crow was chosen Wednesday to be one of seven Democratic impeachment managers for President Donald Trump’s trial in the U.S. Senate.
The Aurora Democrat is a retired Army Ranger, combat veteran and Bronze Star recipient who worked as an attorney at the Denver office of the law firm of Holland and Hart before jumping into politics in 2018. He easily unseated five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in his first run for elected office.
Crow was chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi despite the fact that he didn’t sit on either of the committees — Judiciary and Intelligence — that led the impeachment inquiry in the chamber. She also picked him despite the fact that Crow didn’t support her speakership.
“The president’s abuse of power and scorn for our constitutional checks and balances is unprecedented,” Crow said last month on the House floor as the chamber voted to impeach Trump. “Unless we stand up against these abuses we will set the country on a dangerous new course.”
Trump faces two articles of impeachment approved by the House — one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing Congress — related to his conversations with Ukraine’s president and a request that the country investigate Joe Biden, one of Trump’s Democratic rivals in the 2020 election.
The impeachment managers are similar to prosecutors and will be attempting to convince 67 senators — or two thirds of the Senate — to convict Trump. Much of their work will be persuading Senate Republicans, who are in the majority, to subpoena witnesses and documents.
Crow on Wednesday spoke with CBS4 in collaboration with its political news partner, The Colorado Sun, about his role in the upcoming trial, how he will handle the pressure of the high-profile role and his reaction to being chosen for the job.
It was one of only a few interviews he has given to the media since being chosen as a manager:
The following interview has been edited for clarity and length. Questions are in boldface.
What are you bringing to this role through your military experience?
For me this has always come back to my oath — my oath to the country, my oath to the office. That oath is to the Constitution and to make sure we are defending that. And that’s really what this is about. The president has forced us into a position where we have to to make sure we are defending the Constitution and the rule of law. And that’s been constant (part) of my life, from defending the country in uniform to taking an oath a little over a year ago as a member of Congress. It’s been my North Star. It’s something that’s guided me in tough times.
You rose to partner in a very prominent law firm and specialized in, among other things, government investigations. How will you apply that legal expertise to this situation?
I started my life through the lens of national security and defending the country and supporting our men and women in uniform. The gravamen, the thrust of the allegations, deals with that issue: national security, support for one of our allies, making sure that we’re defending our over 60,000 troops that we have in Europe. Putting the interests of those men and women and our national security above self-interest, and that’s what our president did not do.
I was also a lawyer for almost a decade — litigating, helping businesses comply with complicated regulations, conducting investigations — so I’m very familiar with that process as well. I think I bring a couple of different frames to this.
Can you talk about how you plan to handle the case?
Ultimately, this is a trial. We have to make sure that the American people have access to information, that we have witnesses and that we have documents. We cannot have this be the first impeachment trial in the history of the United States without documents and witnesses. The American people deserve better than that and that’s going to be one of our first major tasks.
Will you be talking to Colorado’s Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner about this? You will need four Republicans’ support to get those documents and witnesses.
Sen. Gardner is going to be a juror like all of the other senators. All 100 U.S. senators are going to sit as jurors in this and all 100 have to take the same oath — that they’re being impartial jurors. Every senator is going to be expected to make sure that they fulfill that oath.
(In a written statement to The Colorado Sun on Wednesday, Gardner said: “I am focused entirely on fulfilling my Constitutional duty as an impartial juror and my responsibility to listen to both sides present their case.”)
You’re in a swing district. How does that play into this?
Well, politics can’t be a part of this analysis. What our country needs right now is people that are willing to step up and defend the rule of law, defend our Constitution, and do the right thing. The people of Colorado will recognize when someone stands up and does the right thing and puts the country and the state and their district ahead of their own self interest. Colorado also wants accountability of the president. We have repeatedly pushed back on some of the worst policies of this president. I spend a lot of time back in Colorado meeting with immigrants and refugees, children, victims of gun violence and I know that we are a community that has been disproportionately impacted by some of the worst policies of this administration.
This is not about whether we agree or disagree with the policies of the president. This ultimately is about an abuse of power, an abuse of authority. A president abused his authority for personal, political gain. We cannot allow that to happen, because if we do then we are setting a precedent that would allow every subsequent administration — Republican or Democrat — to do the same thing. It’s time for us to stand up and defend the rule of law.
There’s been a charge from Republicans that this wasn’t a fair process in the House. What do you say to that?
Well, it absolutely was a fair process. There were dozens of witnesses, over 100 hours of testimony. Republicans were in the committee rooms as well. They were able to have counsel. They were able to ask questions, and they did. This was a process that was done just like the prior processes. Now there’s a trial phase, and that’s where the president will have lawyers. That’s where they will present evidence. We will present evidence.
What was your reaction when Speaker Pelosi asked you to do this?
I’m still processing it. Certainly a very momentous occasion. But it is somber, it is a very grave situation and we are going to be approaching it with the somberness and the seriousness and the gravity that it deserves.