How it’s done!

Dear President Trump,

I bet you’re happy to put February 2019 behind you; it was a rough month for you. Happily for the rest of the world, it looks like March 2019 will be a rough month for you too, what with having to waddle around with your tail between your legs after your not-so summity-summit with Kim. Plus, you’ll be bracing for the end of the Mueller investigation and the beginning of even more digging around in other patches of muck that Cohen just led folks to.

It’s this last aspect of the intensifying trials and tribulations of Trump, which will hopefully lead to other sorts of trials, that I want to focus on today. I told you yesterday that you all need to have the video of AOC’s five minutes with Cohen on continual loop so you might pick up some clues about staying on point and being effective.

That advice is still solid, but I also think whoever on your team that can get you to focus for a nanosecond should read today’s HP article about the prep that went into her questioning. I think it’s open-mic worthy. Really, it’s an awesome piece in and of itself; Daniel Marans and Paul Blumenthal wrote a crisp, cogent article that deserves kudos.

The really great thing, though, is the teamwork and strategy of the Democratic Congressional staffers that the article describes and how all that good stuff was used in service of the country as a whole and AOC’s constituents. Upon learning that Cohen really would testify this week, the staffers went into high gear and worked through the weekend. They came up with 35 questions complete with follow-ups, context, and supporting documentation. They had the Democratic committee members choose their questions and helped shape the questions as needed. Over the course of the hearing, they kept track of which issues had not been fully addressed and the new, interesting bits left dangling so that people (like AOC) slated to question Cohen later in the day could pick up those threads.

I’m sure there were stressy, tense moments and lots of frayed nerves. There were probably even some missed cues and opportunities, but oh my did all that careful prep and dogged focus on exposing real issues (rather than indulging in grandstanding) pay off in dividends. Those dividends will benefit Democracy and the American people and they will yield diminishing returns for you and yours in perpetuity. Whoot!

May we all be safe from corruption.
May we be happy to stay focused on issues of consequence.
May we have the ego strength to forego grandstanding.
May you not start a war.

Tracy Simpson

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