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Impeachment Manager Jason Crow Not A Usual Suspect For Job

Rep. Jason Crow (far right) and other managers of the House impeachment case join Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference at the Capitol.
Matt Rourke
Rep. Jason Crow (far right) and other managers of the House impeachment case join Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a news conference at the Capitol.

When Jason Crow went to Congress last January after becoming the first Democrat to win his swing district in the eastern Denver suburbs, he was one of only 15 members of his party who did not vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House.

Just over a year later, Pelosi announced that she had picked Crow to be one of the seven House Democrats who will be impeachment managers in the Senate trial of President Trump.

If Pelosi's choice of a freshman congressman who'd snubbed her in his very first vote sets him apart from the others tapped as managers, so too does the fact that he has never grilled any of the witnesses summoned by House investigators.

Unlike the six others chosen to argue for Trump's removal from office — Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren of California, Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, and Sylvia Garcia of Texas — Crow sits on neither the Judiciary Committee nor the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the two House panels that held public hearings in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

But then none of the other newly minted impeachment managers has served three combat tours in two wars, a distinction that sets Crow apart from most lawmakers on either side of the political aisle.

"I've just always been someone who goes where the fight is," the 40-year-old lawmaker says on his reelection campaign website.

After first enlisting in the National Guard and then the ROTC to help pay for his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Crow served in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division and earned a Bronze Star as a lieutenant leading a platoon of paratroopers during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He went on to serve two more tours in Afghanistan with the elite U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment.

Years later, Crow would set aside a career as a partner in the large Denver law firm of Holland and Hart to challenge Mike Coffman, the Republican incumbent in Colorado's 6th Congressional District who was seeking a sixth term.

Crow beat Coffman in that November 2018 election by 12 points.

"My time in military service taught me that our democracy exists because men and women stand up to fight for it. It's a belief that drove me to serve my country in combat and led me to the halls of Congress," Crow says in an emailed statement. "As an impeachment manager, I will approach the process with the dignity and seriousness that it deserves, and advocate for a full and fair trial. It's my solemn responsibility to lay out the facts and give the Senate — and the American people — confidence in the process."

As recently as last summer, Crow remained undecided on whether to press for impeachment proceedings.

That changed after he listened to former special counsel Robert Mueller tell Congress in July that it was up to lawmakers to act on the findings of his investigation of Trump and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

"I heard that message loud and clear," Crow told The Colorado Sun. "It's clear that we must respond with the full weight of Congress."

It was a conclusion, he added, that many of his constituents had urged him to reach.

The former Army Ranger's resolve deepened in September after a whistleblower charged that Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine to press its president to investigate Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Crow and six other freshman Democrats from swing districts — all with military or intelligence backgrounds — published a Washington Post op-ed on Sept. 24 calling the whistleblower's allegations "stunning." If true, they wrote, "we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense."

It would prove a turning point. After months of resisting growing calls for impeachment, Pelosi that same day announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Three days before the House voted to impeach the president, Crow declared he would vote in favor. "I did not come to Congress to do this," he told a town hall meeting in Aurora, "but if we don't do it now, then when will we?"

On Wednesday, Crow joined the other impeachment managers in a procession walking the two articles of impeachment approved by the House over to the Senate chamber.

"This solemn responsibility, during the third impeachment trial in our nations history, will be capably executed by Rep. Crow," Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wrote in a congratulatory note on Twitter. "May wisdom guide the weighty decision facing the Senate."

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David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.