Steve Isley sees no reason not to believe what Donald Trump has to say about the congressional impeachment investigation.
"The Democrats have tried to remove him since his election, so I'm not so excited about it," said the retired construction worker. "Until now, I doubt that they have any evidence."
But even Isley, who plans to vote again for the president next year and scorns all Democrats as "socialists", is ready to keep open the possibility that at the first congressional public hearings next week, the investigation reveals Trump's wrongdoing that would make dismissal lawful.
"It's a bit like Nixon," he said of the president who resigned from Watergate. "It's not serious enough at this point."
Isley, who grew up on a Kansas farm, lives in Johnson County, a suburb of Kansas City who gave up supporting Trump in 2016 to overthrow a Republican and elect Sharice Davids, a homosexual American, to Congress as a Democrat. two years later.
Voting trends reflect Trump's abandonment in the US suburbs, which could complicate his re-election in 2020 if he is unable to strengthen support elsewhere, particularly in rural areas of transition states.
The impeachment hearings underway in Washington, which will enter their public phase on Wednesday, do not seem to be able to help.
The efforts of Republican leaders to induce outrage against the process as illegitimate, including a waterfall where members of Congress stormed a room where witness statements were taken to claim that Democrats the president secretly ruled, again angered a hard core of Trump supporters rally angrily for his defense.
But there is also some of the electorate who voted for him – fewer ideological Republican and independent supporters – who is willing to see where the evidence goes. They have a more open mind than the Trump campaign strategists would like.
A Fox News poll showed that nearly half of Americans support the removal of the president and one-third of those opposed could change their minds if they are presented with new evidence.
"I vote Republican or I do not vote," said Bill Harris, a commercial director who supports Trump. "Everything is political. Nancy Pelosi wants to go out Trump. Everyone can see that. It's Washington. But I think he has questions to answer. We have to hear the evidence, hear the people who were there. I'm not against that. "
Harris said he knew other people who had voted for Trump, whose doubts about the president had accumulated and that if it was proven that wrongdoing was committed, it would distract them.
"There are those who defend him regardless of the circumstances and there are those who think he is too unpredictable, too unstable. He did good things in the trade but I think a lot of Republicans like me have doubts and worries. I would like him to keep his mouth shut, "he said.
Then he added an afterthought.
"It would be a mistake for the Democrats to dismiss him. They should let the elections do it. If Democrats have the evidence, voters will make the decision, "he said.
This is precisely what some Democrats in Johnson County are counting on. The county will not change much in the outcome of the presidential election because Kansas is a solidly Republican state. But it will be crucial in Davids' fight for his re-election and continued democratic control of Congress, and this reflects the change that has taken place in other large suburbs of the Midwest, which will play an important role in the victory in 2020 .
Nancy Leiker, president of the Democratic Party of Johnson County, said that dismissal was not the most important issue for most voters. That remains health care.
"But I can not help but think that these numbers will change as the investigation continues and becomes public," she said.
Leiker said the opposition to Trump had led to more people campaigning and the Democrats thought the impeachment hearings could only be helpful.
Cassie Woolworth, a computer-based contract analyst and single mother of three boys, was among those largely unaware of politics until Trump was elected.
"My generation of women left the ball with their eyes. We thought the battles were won, "she said. "When he was elected, I was so angry. I felt so defeated. "
Woolworth joined a local branch of the Democratic Party and opened the door for Ms. Davids to be elected in 2018. She also campaigned in local elections last week.
"You already see the independents withdrawing from the Republican Party. I think it's because Trump keeps talking, "she said.
Woolworth believes the impeachment process will become a political test for Republican members of the Congress of Midwestern States.
"Once people have heard the evidence, voters will judge them on how they voted for the impeachment," she said.
Some people will not take a lot of conviction.
Kent Tyler, an artist who voted for George W Bush and then Barack Obama, looks scornfully at Trump but waits to see what the impeachment hearings will reveal.
"Before I decide, I want to see what will happen. I think it's very important, "he said. "I'm calling a conservative democrat. I was in the middle. Undeclared. Once Trump took office and that he started doing his job, I moved to Democrat. Things must be brought to light. I think the evidence will be very damaging. "
Tyler still worries about the impact of hearings on an already divided country.
"So much hatred has been done in America, I think it's going to get very mean," he said.