Rep. Jamie Raskin, who claimed the national spotlight as lead manager of then-President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the waning days of his administration, is the subject of a new MSNBC documentary titled “Love & The Constitution.”
The 86-minute docu, debuting on the cabler Feb. 6, follows the U.S. Congressman over a three-year period, capturing his fight to uphold the Constitution during the Trump administration. Several pivotal moments in life will be included, including the loss of his son, Tommy, to suicide on Dec. 31, 2020.
Director Madeleine Carter began filming “Love & The Constitution” during the Maryland representative’s second year in Congress, when special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump was well underway, and Raskin sat on the House Judiciary Committee.
“My first day filming Congressman Raskin was July 4, 2018,” says Carter, who expected Mueller’s report would be out soon. “I also assumed that the release of the Mueller Report would trigger an impeachment investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, on which Jamie sits. I thought Trump would be impeached within six months, and that I’d follow Jamie through the process and be finished filming within a year,” she says. “It didn’t turn out that way.”
In addition to Raskin, “Love & The Constitution” features the congressman’s family members: wife Sarah Bloom Raskin and their children Tommy, Tabitha and Hannah.
Raskin, a former law professor, was at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, while still grieving his son’s death. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi soon named him lead manager of President Trump’s impeachment trial for inciting the insurrection and Carter’s cameras were present throughout the trial and both tragedies.
“Mads Carter lobbied me for about a year to agree to participate in a documentary about the Constitution, Donald Trump and me,” says Raskin. “She recorded a lot of things I am happy now to remember and some things we wish with all our hearts had never happened. But she was always a steady and compassionate chronicler of our lives.
“After three-and-a-half years of filming, we pretty much forgot she was there, in the background, filming us,” adds Raskin, whose memoir, “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy,” was recently published. “Through the campaigns, the marches, the protests, the violent insurrection, the impeachment, the Senate trial, and Tommy’s memorial service, she bore witness to our lives during a period of trauma and struggle and heartbreak.”
Over the last year, MSNBC has revitalized its nonfiction long form programming under the banner MSNBC Films led by Amanda Spain, VP of longform acquisitions. “Love & The Constitution” is one of nine feature documentaries that Spain has acquired since being hired in March. In addition to French artist JR’s docu “Paper & Glue,” Spain also acquired Field of Vision’s “The Facility,” one of 15 doc shorts recently named to the Oscar shortlist.
“ ‘Love & The Constitution’ is so important in this moment because it speaks to the personal story of one man persevering through traumas so many have experienced,” says Spain, who served as executive producer on the documentary, along with MSNBC president Rashida Jones.
“The collective trauma of Jan. 6 and the fight to save this country and the collective mental health crisis caused by COVID, that has taken so many lives. I hope this film serves as a beacon of light for years to come, that despite these unbearable moments in life we can still continue to move forward and fight for what we believe in.”