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Clinton Impeachment Trial: Senate Deliberations

The Senate began its deliberations in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton on February 9, 1999.

Senate Impeachment Trial Deliberations (1).

The Chaplain, Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, offered the following prayer:

Almighty God, we renew our trust in You when we realize how much You have entrusted to us. We are stunned by the psalmist’s reminder that You have crowned us with glory and honor and given us responsibility over the work of Your hands. We renew our dependence on You as we assume this breathtaking call to courageous leadership.

Help the Senators to claim Your promised glory and honor. Imbue them with Your own attributes and strengthen their desire to do what is right and just. As they humbly cast before You any crowns of position or pride, crown them with Your presence and power. In Your holy Name. Amen.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: The Sergeant at Arms will make proclamation.

The Sergeant at Arms, James W. Ziglar, made proclamation as follows:

Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States.


The CHIEF JUSTICE: If there is no objection, the Journal of proceedings of the trial are approved to date.

The Chair recognizes the majority leader.

Mr. LOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.


Mr. LOTT: This afternoon, the Senate will begin final deliberations on the articles of impeachment. However, pursuant to S. Res. 30, a Senator may at this time offer a motion to suspend the rules to allow the final deliberations to remain open. That motion is not amendable and no motions to that motion may be offered. Therefore, I expect at least one vote to occur shortly. Following that vote, if the motion is defeated, I will move to close deliberations. If that motion should be adopted, the Senate will begin full deliberations, with each Senator allocated 15 minutes to speak. And I note that that will be true whether it is in open or closed session, although Senator Daschle and I may have some further comments to make about that later on.

I note that if each Senator uses his or her entire debate time, the proceedings will take 25 hours, not including breaks and recesses. Therefore, I remind all Senators that Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in less than 3 minutes and Kennedy’s inaugural address was slightly over 7 minutes. But certainly every Senator will have his or her opportunity to speak for up to 15 minutes, if that is their desire, and, of course, we would also need to communicate with the Chief Justice about the time of the proceedings.

I expect that we will try to go until about 6 or 6:30 this afternoon. I want to confer with Senator Daschle, but I think maybe we will try to begin earlier tomorrow and go throughout the day into the early evening. Again, we do have to take into consideration the fact that about 7 or 8 hours will be the absolute maximum we will probably be able to do in a single day. We will talk further about that and make an announcement before we conclude today.

I now yield the floor to the Senator from Pennsylvania, Senator Specter, for the purpose of propounding a unanimous consent request.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: The Chair recognizes Senator Specter.


Mr. SPECTER: Mr. Chief Justice, on behalf of the leader, and in my capacity as a copresider for the Senate at the deposition of Mr. Sidney Blumenthal, I ask unanimous consent that the parties be allowed to take additional discovery, including testimony on oral deposition of Mr. Christopher Hitchens, Ms. Carol Blue, Mr. R. Scott Armstrong and Mr. Sidney Blumenthal with regard to possible fraud on the Senate by alleged perjury in the deposition testimony of Mr. Sidney Blumenthal with respect to allegations that he, Mr. Sidney Blumenthal, was involved with the dissemination beyond the White House of information detrimental to the credibility of Ms. Monica Lewinsky, and that pursuant to the authority of title II of Senate Resolution 30, the Chief Justice of the United States, through the Secretary of the Senate, shall issue subpoenas for the taking of such testimony at a time and place to be determined by the majority leader after consultation with the Democratic leader, and, further, that these depositions be conducted pursuant to the procedures set forth in title II of Senate Resolution 30, except that the last four sentences of section 204 shall not apply to these depositions, provided, further, however, that the final sentence of section 204 shall apply to the deposition of Mr. Sidney Blumenthal.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: Is there objection?

Mr. DASCHLE: Mr. Chief Justice, I object.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: Objection is heard.

Mr. LOTT addressed the Chair.

The CHIEF JUSTICE: The Chair recognizes the majority leader.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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