News and Commentary

Democrat During Impeachment Hearing: ‘Hearsay Can Be Much Better Evidence Than Direct’
Representative Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois, listens during a House Intelligence Committee hearing with Robert Mueller, former special counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. Mueller made his reluctant, long-awaited appearance before Congress Wednesday, resisting pressure from Democrats who hoped he'd reveal additional information about his investigation of President Donald Trump.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley (IL) faced intense backlash on Wednesday afternoon after claiming during Democrats’ impeachment inquiry hearing that “hearsay” can be “much better evidence than direct” evidence.

In a rambling statement, Quigley said, “And, if gets to closed primer on hearsay, I think the American public needs to be reminded that countless people have been convicted on hearsay because the courts have routinely allowed and created, needed exceptions to  hearsay.”

Quigley continued, “Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct … and it’s certainly valid in this instance.”


Donald Trump Jr. immediately turned his sights on Quigley, hammering the congressman in a series of tweeted.

“Can you believe this insanity? ‘Heresay can be much better evidence than DIRECT EVIDENCE’ according to Democrat Mike Quigley,” Trump tweeted. “Are you fricken kidding me? 3rd and 4th party info better than hearing it yourself?”

Trump added, “From a reliable 4th party source according to other Democrats like #FullOfSchiff the best evidence is (is) shit you just make up for political gain as that appears to be what they have been doing all along.”

Trump concluded, “Sounds exactly like what someone would say when they’re desperate and have no actual evidence…”

Quigley was widely mocked online over his comments, including from Australian political commentator Rita Panahi, who wrote on Twitter, “I heard that Mike Quigley tortures puppies & then covers himself in goat poop & dances naked in the moonlight.”

Dana Loesch also weighed in, writing: “Just want to add that these lawmakers who say “hearsay can be much better evidence than direct” are the same ones who want to subject you to a due process-less red flag system. I’m sure that will just stop with guns, right? You still cool with that?”

One of the chief complaints from Republicans on House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was the fact that the CIA whistleblower did not have any first-hand knowledge of the alleged incident and instead got all of his information from second and third-hand sources.

The Federalist reported in September that there significant changes made to the official whistleblower complaint form that allowed for hearsay to be used as evidence to submit the form. Federalist co-founder Sean Davis wrote:

Between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings. This raises questions about the intelligence community’s behavior regarding the August submission of a whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump. The new complaint document no longer requires potential whistleblowers who wish to have their concerns expedited to Congress to have direct, first-hand knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing that they are reporting.

The brand new version of the whistleblower complaint form, which was not made public until after the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the complaint addressed to Congress were made public, eliminates the first-hand knowledge requirement and allows employees to file whistleblower complaints even if they have zero direct knowledge of underlying evidence and only “heard about [wrongdoing] from others.”

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