Impeachment hearings become civics lesson for Pennsylvania middle schoolers

“Nightline” joins Joseph Harmon at Redbank Valley High School as he and his students watch and discuss testimonies from David Holmes and Dr. Fiona Hill.
7:21 | 11/22/19

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Transcript for Impeachment hearings become civics lesson for Pennsylvania middle schoolers
Reporter: The impeachment showdown in the hallowed halls of congress is beaming across the country into living rooms and classrooms. Years later, I can say with confidence that this country has offered for me opportunities I never would have had. Reporter: A history lesson broadcast live and in real time. For these middle schoolers in new Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Your thoughts on Dr. Hill? What's your initial takeaway Caden? Her ancestors have done a lot for America and for us. Reporter: A teachable moment. As a civics teacher, I find it my responsibility to try to showcase this, this moment in this moment in time is an historic time. Where the leader of the free world is under investigation for impeachment. Which two presidents have been impeached thus far? Reporter: A lesson in civics. Emma? Andrew Johnson. Reporter: And civility. And Elliott? Bill Clinton. Reporter: And how our democracy works. The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Let me just ask this, because I think it's interesting. This is some difficult stuff. If you can make our leader, if you can make it look like they're an illegitimate leader, what have you just done to our country? You made it look weak. You made it look weak. Do you think Russia would benefit from that? Yeah. That's what she is kind of trying to unpack here. You're 13, 14, you're not expected to be experts in foreign policy, but someday you will. Reporter: What these students, and their parents and grandparents take away from this process is really what matters most. It's like a very important process that needed to happen. I don't think it's even close to over yet and it's already been going on for a long time. So remember yesterday? Sondland. Sondland, what his title is or what he what he is. Emma. The ambassador of the -- The ambassador of the -- it's ok if you don't know. Yeah I forget. Reporter: This is small town America. Trump country. In 2016, he won the surrounding counties by a landslide. Nightline was here. My colleague Terry Moran paid a visit Dr Harmon's class shortly before election day. All right, we're gonna look at today, political ads. Reporter: These students called it. Their straw poll, lined up just like how their parents would vote days later. Hillary Clinton 48, Donald Trump 340. Donald Trump with a landslide victory here at redbank valley. Reporter: Today, a much different process. Rarer than any election. What did he mean by president trump benefiting from an investigation into Joe Biden? Trump's going against Joe Biden in the 2020 election. So if people find out that Biden has done something wrong, they might not vote for him. Reporter: But the students get what's at stake. He's not arguing that trump didn't do anything wrong. He's just saying that it's not impeachable. I think he will be impeached but I think the senate won't convict him. Reporter: Today's most relatable bit of testimony came from David Holmes, a foreign service officer serving in the us embassy in kiev. He told the committee about a phone call he overheard in July. I could hear the president's voice through the earpiece of the phone. The president's voice was loud and recognizable and ambassador sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume. Reporter: Ambassador Gordon sondland was with Holmes at a restaurant in kiev reporting back to president trump about their meeting with the Ukrainian president. I then heard president trump ask, "So, he's gonna do the investigation?" Ambassador sondland replied that "He's gonna do it." I feel like it's just weird that it was at a restaurant. Like lily said, I think it'd be more private, try to talk to trump privately and not right at the table with everyone. It was a little weird how he said he was holding it away from his face even though it was on What do you think Emma? I mean if it wasn't on speakerphone, it would have to be extremely loud for him to hear it. Reporter: That's exactly what president trump picked up on. Inviting his supporters to try it. Tweeting, "Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I've even tried, but to no avail. Try it live!" The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the power that -- Reporter: Another moment that cut through today, this one from Fiona hill. Is it Sophia hill? Fiona hill. Fiona hill. Did you see what her title is? Does anyone know her title? Let's look it up. We can Google it. According to Google she was the administration's top Russia expert, until she resigned from the national security council in August. Reporter: She testified about how she clashed with ambassador sondland over Ukraine. I actually said to him, "Who put you in charge of Ukraine?" And, I mean, I'll admit I was a bit rude and that's when he told me the president which shut me up he was absolutely right. Because he was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged. Reporter: So at the end of five days of testimony, it seems pretty clear that the Democrats are going to move forward with articles of impeachment against the president. The question is going to be, what are those articles? Why isn't it just impeachment equals removal from office? Do you know what I'm asking? Willis? It has to go through the senate to -- Yeah, it has to go through both steps. Reporter: Perhaps with that next step in mind, today the president launched a charm offensive, inviting Republican senators who will likely decide this case to lunch. Interestingly, the redbank students debated if trump should testify in his own defense. We'll start with Elliott and just work our way over. No. Definitely not because I think he's going to blow it and say something and ruin it for himself so I think he shouldn't. Ok. Claire? The people at these hearings and stuff are like professional at asking all these questions and stuff and I just don't know if trump would be able to answer all the questions like correctly I guess. Reporter: Eighth grader Seth Barrett also talks politics at the dinner table. His parents, Adam and Wendy, went to redbank when they were kids. They recently sold their family dairy farm. Adam found work right away. Proof they say of the strong economy under trump. People vote with their pocketbooks and their wallets 90 percent of the time. Unless that are there's some catastrophe, I think he'll get reelected. They're following impeachment. We teach our boys it's ok when they talk about these things in school. You're going to have different opinions than your friends. And that's ok. You don't need to get upset. You don't mean to say mean things to one another. Just be fair and listen to them, because that's what the whole United States is about -- like to get along and difference of opinion. Reporter: You can follow complete impeachment coverage at abcnewscom.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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