The impeachment hearings have taken over the airwaves and livestream feeds this week and while it’s hard to escape the conversation in a newsroom, Political Reporter Mikenzie Frost went to downtown Lansing to find out if people are really glued to the TV and the coverage, or if it’s just more political noise.
Lansing is the Capital City of Michigan and is home to Republicans, Democrats and anyone in between. It’s a town that is no stranger to political games and partisan divides. Turns out, while most people admit to not watching every hour of the marathon public hearings, they are interested in what is being said.
“I don’t have time because I’m busy but I always go online and read about it. It is important because it’s an alarming sign for the people,” said Mike Mahdi, owner of The Daily Bagel. “Impeachment doesn’t happen every year or every president.”
The impeachment hearings aren’t a waste of time and there must be something to investigate, he said.
“Whether it is or not, some people may agree, some people may not. But there is something,” Mahdi said. “Impeachment is like a prosecutor takes the case to court, if he has enough proof he can do that. You cannot call for impeachment for nothing.”
Down the street from “the best bagels in town,” as Mahdi described, is a place where the conversations of day-to-day life flows a little easier than political shop talk.
Brian sat in his chair getting a fresh haircut at Jude’s Barbershop. He said he hasn’t been paying too much attention to the hearings and wanted to learn more about what was said during testimony before making a definitive decision about President Donald Trump. With that said, he did have a few reservations about the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
“It seems like not everything was done above the table,” he said. ”Whether or not it’s impeachable, I don’t know.”
While waiting outside a bank a few doors down, Alexander McKissic has been watching the hearings and said he made up his mind.
“They doing the right thing, trying to get Trump out with the impeachment because Trump ain’t been doing a great job for the United States,” McKissic said. “He’s just been steady lying to us and not giving us his word, like he said. So, it would be a blessing if Trump would just leave that office so we can give somebody else a chance.”
McKissic said he was a Trump support in 2016 and was one of the just more than 10,000 people who helped Trump carry Michigan in the election. He said he hasn’t been impressed with the president’s actions and is ready for change.
“We all voted him in and elected him in and we gave our trust to him. He said he was going to be a good president for us and then he hasn’t fulfilled his word like he was supposed to. We have been let down by what he said,” McKissic said.
“All the secrets and it’s not fair to use because the promises haven’t came true to us and now he deserves to not be in office," McKissic said.
Lansing wouldn’t be a political town without a difference of opinions though. Just as strongly as McKissic feels about his position about the impeachment inquiry, Christopher McLain is passionate about his views on the other side. McLain said he’s been watching the hearings “a little bit” but said they were “kind of boring.”
“It’s just so one sided of course. Total waste of tax dollars to the max,” McLain said. “It’s all political of course. It’s just to try and set the stage to get people to think one way. I don’t think he really understood the rules or whatever. But in his mind, he was just trying to make a deal and that’s what it’s all about.”
McLain went on to say that “everybody knows it’s [impeachment inquiry] fake.” While that might be his opinion, other people view the hearings differently and have been paying attention.
“I’ve been watching [and] picking up news briefs,” Charles Owens said, adding that he viewed the hearings as important because, “It’s America.”
“It’s a reflection of what our leader is doing or not doing that really upsets me,” Owens said. “I think it’s an impeachable offense. Absolutely.”