The trial of President Bill Clinton began in Washington on January 7.
Following the presentation at 10.00am by the House of Representatives managers, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, of the Articles of Impeachment passed by the House on December 19, 1998, the House adjourned until 1.00pm.
Following the adjournment, the Senate admitted the Chief Justice, William Rehnquist. Senator Strom Thurmond, 96, president pro tempore of the Senate, administered the oath to Rehnquist:
“Do you solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, now pending, that I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?”
“I do,” Rehnquist replied.
Rehnquist then waited while the 100 Senators took the following oath:
“I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, now pending, that I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”
The Senators then each signed a book that will stand as the Senate’s permanent record of the trial proceedings.
Upon motion by the Republican Majority Leader, Trent Lott, Rehnquist adjourned proceedings until a calling by the Chair.
Whilst there are Senate rules arising out of the trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and impeachment proceedings against federal judges in the twentieth century, there appears to be little agreement on precisely how the trial will proceed.
Republicans and Democrats have been unable to agree on the duration of the trial, or whether witnesses should be called. A closed caucus meeting of all Senators will discuss the trial’s procedures on Friday.