Open hearings have started on impeachment. The issue: whether President Donald Trump violated the oath of office by pressuring the Ukrainian government for political gain.
The topic is taking over airwaves and newspapers, and finding its way into conversations around the United States. And support for impeachment is growing in Wisconsin. The October Marquette Law School poll shows huge partisan splits on impeachment and removal — 92% of Republicans not supporting it, and 88% of Democrats supporting it.
In case you need to catch up on the impeachment inquiry:
- A Guide To Key People, Facts & Documents
- 7 Moments That Stood Out From The 1st Day Of Trump Impeachment Hearings
- Trump, Ukraine & The Path To The Impeachment Inquiry: A Timeline
To learn more about what people are thinking about the Trump impeachment inquiry, we asked people in southeastern Wisconsin to weigh in (organized alphabetically by last name):
Bill Curtis - Cedarburg
He voted for Trump. At this point, Curtis says he'll vote for him again. He says Democrats are being abusive in their power, but the efforts aren't necessarily lighting a political fire under him or his friends and family.
"Most of us are working," says Curtis. "We just want to get on with our lives and we don't see the real reason for it right now. Now, if something comes out that changes that maybe, but right now most people I know are just trying to live their lives and don't see really the point of it right now."
Christopher De La Vega - Kenosha
He was at a Vice President Mike Pence event in Racine County in October. De La Vega's wife Fatima and two children were also there. He says he's 100% pro-life and likes that Trump is valuing that. He says the impeachment is a "witch hunt."
"I see Democrats, the hard left, looking for anything they possibly can. I don't think they understand, they're losing so much credibility with people like me who would actually be all right with looking at a Democrat politician," De La Vega says.
Joanne Ferber - Mequon
The Democrat says she's watching the polls closely.
"No one is above the law. Originally, when he said he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue — it seems that is true, that everyone in the Republican party, especially in the Senate, defends him constantly no matter what the issue is," she bemoans.
She says it's important for the public to hear from the sources what actually happened. And she trusts those sources.
"The people that are testifying have great credibility and have been in public service for a very long time," says Ferber. "And I do not think that they would jeopardize their careers for lying or for not stating what exactly happened."
Symone Grant - Milwaukee
No matter what happens with impeachment, Grant says she's "absolutely" voting Democratic in 2020.
Anyia Griggs - Milwaukee
"I believe that [the impeachment] process is very important. I'm looking forward to seeing how things move on because it's very important for our Democracy," says Griggs, a Democrat.
Ron Kirsch - Kenosha
We met Kirsch while he was waiting in line to hear Pence speak at the October event. He says he supports the president.
"We have people that are doing impeachment proceedings that are bogus," says Kirsch. "And we need to have some real actual work, that we pay these people to do, get taken care of."
Scott Kuhn - Cedarburg
We spoke with Kuhn as the open hearings started. He says he's not following impeachment closely, but it's made him more politically active.
"I'm donating more money to Trump," Kuhn says.
Rob Machado - Whitefish Bay
He's a political science teaching assistant and grad student at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Machado refused to vote in 2012 and 2016 — because he says he didn’t want to be forced to participate in a system where his individual vote doesn't matter. But he says reading the transcript of the telephone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky has changed his mind.
"Whereas before I was planning on remaining apathetic, or I would pretty much always show up to vote, but I would purposefully abstain from filling it in or write in somebody I know’s name or something like that," says Machado. "Depending on who the Democrats nominate, I would now vote against Trump. Whereas before the Ukraine thing, that wasn’t the case."
He says allowing Trump to get away with this would set a very bad precedent.
Darrell Pate - Milwaukee
Pate has a barbershop in the Sherman Phoenix. He says the impeachment proceedings aren't going to drive him politically.
"Naw, you know what gets me politically active? The Democratic National Convention that's coming to Milwaukee," he says.
Pate says the Democratic National Convention will bring millions to the Milwaukee area, and he's going to mobilize about anything that's going to bring food to his family and community. And for him, that's more often local elections.
Patricia Renner - Brown Deer
Renner, a Democrat, says she's somewhat following the proceedings, but she fully supports them.
"High five to Nancy Pelosi! She's got her hands full," Renner says.
Peter Schwalbe - Kenosha
One thing Schwalbe likes about Trump is that he's a "wheeler and dealer," including in his diplomacy with Ukraine.
"He would have gotten something in return for what he was trying to do there," Schwalbe says.
Let's wrap it up
Other people at the Pence event think Trump has good cause to investigate the role of Democrats in 2016 election interference. Several conservatives also said Democrats have been trying to impeach President Trump since he got elected.
Like the polls show, Democrats we spoke with were hugely supportive of impeachment proceedings.
Most Democrats and Republicans we spoke to said the impeachment proceedings would not affect their votes. But there are some people whose political decisions may be affected by the proceedings.