Prior to the November hearings, these testimonies were held in private. Now, witnesses will testify again in open hearings for the public to observe. The New York Times' Noah Weiland and Nick Fandos discuss the impact the hearings could have on the public:
If it’s the case where the impeachment hearings are really more of a dramatic reading of material that’s already come out in the press, that’s not irrelevant or unimportant, but it might mean that they become less about what President Trump did and more about what kind of moral verdict will be placed on these actions. That’s what happened in the Clinton impeachment.
There's no question these hearings will be a show—the real question is, what kind? For some, watching these hearings is nothing short of a civic duty; regardless of what happens with impeachment, these hearings will provide vital information for voting decisions in 2020.
Some prefer to stay away from the hearings for this exact reason. This camp feels there is no point to tuning into the parade of witnesses and the mudslinging sure to happen among members of the House. USA Today's William Cummings reports:
Republicans lawmakers on the committee will try to cast doubt on the testimony from the trio of diplomats – and on the impeachment inquiry in general. They are likely to try to change the focus by insisting that Trump had a legitimate concern about alleged corruption involving Biden and his son Hunter.
No matter what side of the aisle you're on, many feel exhausted by the division in the country. For some, tuning into the impeachment hearings is too much to bear.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff said in his opening statement during the first open hearing on Nov. 13, the impeachment inquiry holds the "future of the presidency" in its hands. There's no question this is a moment in history people will look back on, study, and use to understand the nature of the division of power. With this in mind, its hard to imagine a world where not tuning in is an option.
But even some politicians won't be watching the hearings. Per the Hill's Justin Wise, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced on Fox News he would not be tuning in, so as not to legitimize the inquiry itself:
“Why am I not going to watch this hearing tomorrow?” Graham, a vocal supporter of President Trump, said on Fox News while speaking with host Sean Hannity. “Because I think it is a threat to the presidency. I don’t want to legitimize it. It’s un-American. It denies the basics of due process.”