Impeachment Hits the Senate

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
Twist Number 1:
The Witnesses

After Clinton and his defense team respond to the articles, things could get ugly. There is the potential for witnesses involved in the sex scandal, including Monica Lewinsky, to be called to the stand to answer questions. Alternatively, the trial could proceed without any witnesses being called by either side, as it did in the House-and we could be spared a rehashing of the lurid details.

Twist Number 2:

The Senate could decide to censure the President, possibly before the completion of a full-scale trial. This form of punishment serves as a reprimand that may or may not require Clinton to pay a fine. Some Republican Senators say they will support censure as an option only if Clinton admits he lied to the grand jury investigating his affair with Monica Lewinsky. A resolution of censure would likely be drafted by senators from both parties. There is some debate as to whether censure is a constitutional option.

Twist Number 3:

A motion to suspend or adjourn the impeachment trial can be made at any time once the articles of impeachment reach the Senate. If a majority of senators (51 or more) approve such a motion, the trial would end without the need for a verdict.

Twist Number 4:
The Lieberman/Gorton Proposal

Senators Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Slade Gorton, R-Wash., have come up with a proposal that would allow for a vote after hearing arguments from both the House managers and the President's counsel. If at least two-thirds of the senators agree at that point that the charges do not warrant the President's removal from office, the Senate could move to end the trial and instead consider a plan for censure.

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