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People across the country offer their opinion of the House Jan. 6 hearings

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Members of then-Vice President Mike Pence's Secret Service detail feared for their lives during the January 6 Capitol riot. Pence refused to leave the Capitol because the electoral votes hadn't been counted, even though a mob had started to chant hang Mike Pence. An unidentified White House security official testified that some members of Pence's Secret Service team called their family members to say goodbye.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

We asked people across the country what they make of the hearings.

LAURA GRANRUTH: I never, ever imagined that democracy would be at the level of risk that it is.

FADEL: Laura Granruth is a college professor in Millersville, Pa. She's a lifelong Democrat. And she's listened to all of the hearings.

GRANRUTH: I'm really disappointed that some ears can't hear this. It astounds me that lifelong Republicans and conservatives can't seem to hear this message because of their fealty to a man.

MARTIN: The man she's referring to there is former President Donald Trump. According to the latest poll from NPR, PBS NewsHour and Marist, a majority of Americans believe he shares responsibility for the attacks on the Capitol. Saden Harroun (ph) of Los Angeles has made up her mind.

SADEN HARROUN: I want them all prosecuted. Don't attack the country in the name of a coup. That's why it's a democracy and you vote.

FADEL: She said she was horrified by the events of January 6. James Toliver (ph) of Seattle said he learned some things from the hearings. And he said, some cases, it was worse than he'd previously thought.

JAMES TOLIVER: I was really surprised about how professional they were and how sloppy they were. They were messy, dude. I mean, my grandson could probably lie better than what they were doing. The whole thing was just completely - and how they thought they were going to get away with it.

FADEL: Kemay Robinson (ph) lives in Houston, and while she supports the fact gathering the committee's doing, she didn't expect the hearings to change many people's minds.

KEMAY ROBINSON: I think that a lot of people are very stayed in their ways. And because people have so many options of what to watch and they're so kind of, like, keyed into the things that they already watch, it's kind of, like, confirmation bias sometimes.

FADEL: Alicia Strange (ph) in Lancaster, Pa., agrees.

ALICIA STRANGE: I don't think anything will come of it. And it'll probably just be a further waste of taxpayer dollars.

MARTIN: Alicia has watched some of the hearings. Her friend, Tamika Holmes (ph), has kept up on social media. They both think former President Trump should be prosecuted.

STRANGE: Absolutely.

TAMIKA HOLMES: Oh, yeah, he should definitely be held accountable.

STRANGE: He enticed it, so - he encouraged these people to do those things, so why not?

MARTIN: When pollsters ask whether January 6 was a threat to democracy, people are split down the middle.

FADEL: Houston resident Jeff Veller (ph) is so skeptical about the actual politics around the hearings, he hasn't tuned in at all. And despite not watching any of the testimony or listening to the evidence presented, he's dismissed the hearings.

JEFF VELLER: It's not a real trial. It's fake. It's all about Democrats trying to keep their power. That's all it is. They have power right now. And they want to stay in power. That's the only way they can do it.

MARTIN: Freda Tepfer (ph) is active in county-level politics in Erie, Pa. She says she's old enough to remember the Watergate hearings, which she called boring, procedural. That's not how she characterizes the January 6 hearings.

FREDA TEPFER: These are designed to be as easy to consume as possible. I hope some people have their minds changed, you know? I hope there are some people who have not been thoroughly brainwashed by Donald Trump.

MARTIN: Again, the co-chair of the House panel, Liz Cheney, says more hearings will be held this fall, just a couple months before the midterm elections. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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