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1

this paper might help.$^1$ It's written pedagogically and hence is easier to read. It goes on to discuss a lot more than just color decomposition too. $^1$ Scattering Amplitudes, Henriette Elvang, Yu-tin Huang.


2

The trick is the following. Write $$\sum_{a',b,b'} \langle a'|b'\rangle \langle b'|X|b''\rangle\langle b''|a'\rangle = \sum_{b,b'} \langle b'|X|b''\rangle \sum_{a'} \langle b''|a'\rangle\langle a'|b'\rangle .$$ But $$\sum_{a'} |a'\rangle \langle a'|$$ is the identity operator, so the latter sum evaluates to $$\langle b''|b'\rangle.$$



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