WASHINGTON — Life changed dramatically for Jason Crow this week.
The freshman Colorado congressman has kept a relatively low profile since joining the U.S. House in January. But that all changed this week when he was picked as one of seven House Democrats who will lead the prosecution against President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial.
His appointment instantly thrust Crow — a lawyer and former U.S. Army Ranger — into the national spotlight. The trial will certainly dominate his schedule in the coming days and perhaps weeks, and it could help shape his legacy in Congress.
This is only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and Colorado lawmakers haven’t played leading roles in the last two (Colorado wasn’t even a state yet during the nation’s first impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868).
Ahead of the high-stakes hearing, Crow spoke Friday with The Colorado Independent about his role and what’s next.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity).
Indy: What happened? When did you find out you were going to be an impeachment manager?
Crow: Earlier this week, I received the official request. It was a surprise to me. I had not been lobbying for it. It was something that I was very honored to be asked and to have the trust and confidence of my colleagues to represent them in the proceedings. So I accepted the request and was appointed on Wednesday.
Indy: Did you have to think about it, or was it a request you couldn’t refuse?
Crow: I think about everything. Yeah, of course, I had to think about it and I don’t do anything without talking to my wife, first off. We’re a team, we approach this as a team and a decision as big as this has impact on her and on the family as well, so we had to certainly discuss that, all the components of it.
Indy: What are you doing ahead of the start of the trial?
Crow: We’ve already been in trial preparation this week. I’m going to continue to do my work today, reviewing the documents and trial briefs and the [Lev] Parnas documents, and all the other things that continue to come in, the new evidence and coordinating with the other managers. The other managers and I are in pretty regular communication about strategy and approach and the ongoing new evidence that’s coming forward almost in real time. So we’ll continue that process and I’ll return [Saturday] night [to Washington] to continue preparation for the start of trial on Tuesday.
Indy: What’s the most interesting or surprising reaction you’ve gotten so far?
Crow: I think just generally there weren’t a lot of folks that were kind of thinking of me as a manager. I know a lot of media outlets in their analysis have kind of looked at me as the surprise pick. And certainly, that’s probably a reflection of me not lobbying for it. This is something that I’ve been very somber about the entire time.
Indy: You voted against [Nancy] Pelosi for House speaker and now she’s entrusting you with this huge duty. Do you think that’s something that impacted your relationship with her and do you think it played into you getting this job?
Crow: I’ve always had a very good and very professional relationship with her and she’s done a very nice job leading the caucus during a very challenging time. She has some very broad-based support from folks because of her leadership. I will say, I’m not a mind reader, I don’t know what went into her analysis but I can say the manager team reflects the diversity of the caucus and of the nation in many respects.
Indy: Do you know yet what specific piece you’ll be arguing?
Crow: We’re not going to talk about specific trial strategy and our approach at this point, so folks will just have to wait and see how we approach it, but we certainly are discussing all of those details internally pretty regularly.
Indy: Where were you during the Clinton impeachment?
Crow: I guess I was in college. I don’t remember exactly where I was. … I do remember it happening but like most college students, I can’t remember the specifics. But I do remember it being a watershed moment for the country and certainly something that consumed a lot of folks’ attention during that time.
Indy: How do you explain all of this to your kids?
My 9-year-old son, he kind of understands it and grasps what a trial is and what prosecutors are and generally how it works. My 6-year-old daughter, less so. But I try to explain it in very basic terms. She understands that I’m going to need a notebook, so she actually gifted me this bright pink unicorn notebook that I’m going to use next week.
Indy: This is certain to bring attacks against you from the right. Is that something you’re concerned about?
Crow: I’ve completely separated politics from this issue because that’s what the country needs. We can’t have this be a political process, it has to be very somber and it has to be approached with the seriousness and gravity that it is — a very serious and grave situation. So that’s what we’re going to do. … I think if people who have paid attention to me in my time in public office will say one thing, they’ll say I’m a person that is guided by my oath. I take my oath very seriously and I’m going to continue to do so.
Indy: Is all this worth it if the Senate ultimately votes to acquit the president?
Crow: I can’t control whether or not other folks abide by their oath. All I can do is control whether I do, and I intend to. I’m going to do my duty, I’m going to do it well. I’m going to do it with the seriousness and the gravity that it deserves, because the country and Colorado deserves that from us.