What's next in the impeachment process?December 19, 1998
Web posted at: 5:43 p.m. EST (2243 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, December 19) -- The House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton Saturday on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. The matter now moves from the House to a Senate trial.
When the impeachment inquiry began House Republicans promised the matter would be over with by the end of the year, but it won't really be over.
Following the vote Saturday, Republican Judiciary Committee members delivered the two articles of impeachment to Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco, moving the issue from the House to the Senate.
Throughout the House debate Democrats insisted a vote for impeachment would cause the government to effectively shut down for months to come.
"The president and the Congress will be diverted from the urgent national business, while prolonged proceedings take place in the Senate," Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) said during the impeachment debate.
While it is true that impeachment will mean the president's case moves across the Capitol to the Senate for a trial, it may not mean it will be a long drawn-out affair.
Once the trial begins Senators can end the proceedings any time they want, by a simple majority vote. At that time, the president might work out the alternative deal that has eluded him in the House.
In fact, top political figures in Washington, from both parties, in and out of Congress, are already pushing for a censure deal in the Senate, sources tell CNN.
So far, Senate leaders will only acknowledge talking about procedures.
Following Saturday's vote Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said, "The decision by the House of Representatives concerning the conduct of the president sets in motion a solemn process in the Senate of the United States. That process is governed both by the Constitution and by our rules and precedents."
According to the Mississippi Republican, once the Senate is organized for the impeachment proceeding there will be pleadings and motions that come prior to taking any evidence. Because of this, Lott said it would difficult to determine when an actual trial would begin. "That timing will depend greatly on the president and his lawyers," he said.
But Rep. Charles Schumer of New York, a newly elected Democratic Senator who will participate in both the House and Senate phases of the impeachment inquiry, said Saturday that he would try to craft a compromise that would short circuit an impeachment trial in the Senate.
"I'm going to do everything I can to try and craft a compromise that avoids a lengthy trial," said Schumer who served on the House Judiciary Committee.
He said he had already conferred with his future Democratic colleagues in the Senate who agreed that there should be a bipartisan solution to spare the country a tawdry and lengthy trial.
According to Schumer, a compromise could be struck, "if Trent Lott resists the pressure and wiles of the far right."
In accordance with procedure, the House appointed so-called managers prior to adjourning Saturday. The 13 Republican lawmakers, including Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), will act as prosecutors during the Senate trial. Hyde will lead the group during the trial which will be presided over by Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
In addition to Hyde, the other managers were all GOP members of the Judiciary Committee: Reps. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, Bill McCollum of Florida, George Gekas of Pennsylvania, Charles Canady of Florida, Steve Buyer of Indiana, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Bob Barr of Georgia, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Chris Cannon of Utah, James Rogan of California and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
But since the Senate will not deal with the case until next year, the managers will have to be voted on again, this time by the new House which will have a much small Republican majority.
If the managers are rejected by the new House, the whole impeachment matter is blocked. So even with the impeachment vote over, it isn't really over.CNN's Bob Franken contributed to this report.
Saturday, December 19, 1998
Reaction to impeachment mixed, emotional
DeLay, Gingrich support Hastert for House speaker
Clinton appeals for 'reasonable' compromise
What's next in the impeachment process?
Livingston bows out of the speakership
Poll: Public still prefers censure
Transcript: Clinton reacts to impeachment vote
First lady delivers pep talk to Democrats
White House says GOP's strategy is to get Clinton to resign
House roll call: Article I
House roll call: Article II
House roll call: Article III
House roll call: Article IV
Clinton radio address: U.S. is vigilant on Iraq
GOP radio address: Iraq shouldn't stall debate