Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade advised Democrats that a simple, understandable message about Trump’s wrongdoing may be more important for impeachment than a mountain of strong evidence.
November 9, 2019

On AM Joy today, host Joy Reid asked McQuade for insight as to how Democrats can best make their best impeachment case against Donald Trump. “The case is fairly simple,” Reid noted. “Donald Trump said clear Russia of what we all know they did in 2016. Clear them and get Biden in trouble. … Do that for me and then you can get the money that you’re already supposed to have.”

But Reid was concerned that with so many people involved, the case could “get muddled if Democrats just start throwing witnesses out and people are getting confused.”

McQuade warned that without a clear, easy-to-understand message, impeachment is likely to fail:

McQUADE: This is a really important strategic point of keeping it simple. … Messaging is so important. When I first started as a federal prosecutor, I went to a training program at the Department of Justice that they have all new prosecutors go to.

And one of the things that I was taught is that because of all of the resources in the grand jury process, the government doesn't often lose cases because the evidence is[n’t] strong, the government loses cases because the jury didn't understand the case. And that’s because cases can be very complex and complicated. At the end of the day, they taught us really simplify it, start your opening statement with this word, with this sentence: This case is about blank. Personal gain. Extortion.

Choose a simple word, a simple theme for people to understand. Because if it gets very complicated, then the party that has the burden of proof is going to lose. Because if the jury isn't satisfied that it’s been met, then that means they can't return either a guilty verdict or in this case an impeachment article. So keeping the messaging simple, it is a simple scheme, explaining it in simple terms is essential to success.

Let's hope Democrats heed that good counsel.

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