Voters in Iowa, NH, SC react to impeachment hearing: ‘starting to second guess my original opinion’


Judd Penny is an Iowa resident, businessman and Army veteran who is concerned about the impeachment hearings. (ABC News)(WASHINGTON) — Two key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump dominated headlines across America on Wednesday when they testified in the House’s first public hearings.But what did voters really think of the historic proceedings? ABC News spoke to voters in three key states about whether they tuned in and what they thought about the hearing and what the outcome of the inquiry will be.Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.At the center of the impeachment inquiry has been a phone call on July 25 between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in exchange for military aid to Ukraine. Critics allege this was a “quid pro quo.”During Wednesday’s hearing, Taylor testified that his staffer was in a restaurant in Ukraine when he overheard Trump on a call with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on July 26 asking about the status of “the investigations.”Republicans have defended Trump, arguing that there couldn’t have been a quid pro quo because Zelenskiy didn’t know that the aid had been withheld at the time of the call on July 25. They also argued that an investigation into the Bidens ultimately never occurred and that the aid was eventually given to Ukraine.Here’s what voters in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa had to say.Concord, New HampshireInside Concord’s The Red Arrow Diner, a New Hampshire staple, the televisions were on, but they weren’t tuned to the impeachment hearings. In fact, if you wanted to watch the hearings, you had to go to the television in the hallway near the bathroom.It was business as usual, people sitting at tables talking to each other, waitresses talking to patrons and a busy kitchen in the background.Steven Greene, from Belmont, N.H., only “caught a part” of the impeachment hearings because he’s “not convinced that the impeachment thing is up and up, and…the most important thing on everybody’s mind.” Greene said he’d “rather come to Sam’s or Walmart than watch impeachment hearings.” However, he said he does plan to watch some of the hearings in the future because “they are such an important part of history.”Greene told ABC News that impeachment “is not really an important issue” for him. Instead, the most important issue for Greene is “fiscal responsibility.”In the back corner of the diner, Rudy Bourget also said he didn’t watch the impeachment hearings on Wednesday because it was the first day of deer hunting season. He said he probably won’t watch future hearings, either, even though he supports impeachment and believes that Trump committed “an abuse of power.””It depends if I’m home or not,” Bourget said.Bourget calls himself a “middle-of-the-road moderate” who doesn’t “like [the] extreme right or extreme left.” Impeachment isn’t an important issue to Bourget, he said. He said he finds the environment, budget deficit, and the U.S.’s credibility in the world as being his top three most important issues for voting. Bourget also said that impeachment would be his fourth issue, but noted that in four or five years Trump will be out of office and the environment and budget deficit will still exist.Columbia, South CarolinaVoters in South Carolina expressed deep concern about the state of the White House and how the impeachment inquiry will affect the 2020 election.Patrons inside Lizard Thickets restaurant, a Southern dining favorite, said they only caught a glimpse of the hearing before work but hoped that the president would be held accountable if the alleged “quid pro quo” was confirmed through the Democrats’ investigation.Steve Davis, who is from Columbia, told ABC News that this is familiar territory for him as he had watched the impeachment hearings of former president Richard Nixon in 1974. Davis said he would be surprised if the investigation leads to Trump being removed from office.”He’ll never get impeached because [of] the Senate. There won’t be enough votes there to impeach him. But I think the House might do it,” Davis told ABC News.Downtown in the Palmetto state capital, Marvin Coon said the impeachment inquiry further complicates the election as Trump and the Democratic presidential candidates continue to run their campaigns throughout the investigation.”I actually feel like it’s not fair to [Trump] to go through impeachment at this time during an election process,” said Coon, who is from Delaware but now lives in Columbia. “I’m sure his mindset is [on] how to get reelected. But this will be a distraction for him, as well as for the public. I think we need to look at all the candidates and pick the best one, but it will be almost impossible to concentrate on running for reelection when he’s got this dark cloud over him.”Timothy Doe Jr., who lives in Columbia and owns No Grease Barber Shop, hopes the investigation will be done fairly and with the intent to find the truth. He told ABC News he hasn’t chosen a side in the impeachment fight and that he wishes for the best outcome for America.“Hopefully our president will be cleared of all charges and we don’t have to go through this as a country. I want the most adult person in the room to figure something out,” Doe Jr. said. “If a law has been broken, then we need to handle that. If it hasn’t, clear the man and let’s move on.”Des Moines, IowaThere are no TVs at the Waveland Cafe, but inside, there are patrons scrolling through their phones, reading about and watching Wednesday’s impeachment hearing.Sitting at the cafe’s counter is Judd Penny, an Iowa resident, businessman and Army veteran who is concerned about the impeachment hearings.”The leader that we elected to do this job and represent us isn’t doing his job. He’s breaking laws. That’s a problem,” Penny told ABC News.After listening to some of the impeachment hearings on the radio, Penny said he would like to hear more.”This is about our future. It’s a big deal.” With a Masters degree in political economy from Iowa State University, Penny said he is well read on what’s going on in the political field, but worries that constant impeachment news coverage could fatigue some Iowans.Des Moines native Stephanie Morrison wasn’t sure impeachment was a “great thing,” but after watching Taylor and Kent testify Wednesday morning, she told ABC News, “I’m starting to second guess my original opinion.”Identifying as politically “in the middle,” Morrison said the impeachment hearing allowed her to hear the non-biased facts.”It’s important to the country for everybody to watch [the hearings] and to learn the exact details of everything,” Morrison told ABC News.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.