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THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Feb. 9: Motion to Hold Closed Session

  • More Transcripts From the Trial

  • From the Congressional Record
    Tuesday, February 9, 1999

    MOTION RELATING TO RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS HELD IN CLOSED SESSION

    Mr. LOTT. Therefore, I send this motion to the desk: That the record of the proceedings held in closed session for any Senator to insert their final deliberations on the articles of impeachment shall be published in the Congressional Record at the conclusion of the trial.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The clerk will read the motion.

    The legislative clerk read as follows:

    The Senator from Mississippi [Mr. Lott] for himself and Mr. Daschle, moves as follows:

    That the record of the proceedings held in closed session for any Senator to insert their final deliberations on the Articles of Impeachment shall be published in the Congressional Record at the conclusion of the trial.

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, so everybody can understand this, may I be recognized?

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The majority leader is recognized.

    Mr. LOTT. It is the desire of one and all to have the opportunity for this record to be made. After the trial is concluded, Senators can have their statements in the closed session put into the Congressional Record--in the record of the trial. There may be Senators that choose, for whatever reason, not to do it in that way at that time. Senator Daschle and I have talked a great deal about this. We think this is the fair way to make that record. We urge that it be adopted.

    Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. Chief Justice, point of clarification.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein, is recognized.

    Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. Leader, can I ask a point of clarification? Does this mean that repartee between Members will not be recorded, but just the statement as the Member submits it?

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, if I could respond to that, I think that would be up to the Senators. That has been one of my points. I hope we won't just have speeches and that, in fact, we will have deliberations. As we have found ourselves in previous closed sessions, almost uncontrollably we wound up discussing and talking with each other. I hope that if we come to that, the Senators involved in the exchange would make that a part of the record and part of history. I believe they would have that right under this proposal.

    Mr. DASCHLE. If the leader will yield for the purpose of clarification, I may have misunderstood what the majority leader described here. But our intent would be to allow statements to be inserted into the Congressional Record, not into the hearing record.

    Mr. LOTT. That is correct. I misstated that.

    Mr. DASCHLE. So that people understand, this would actually allow you the opportunity to insert your statement into the Congressional Record, succeeding the votes on the two articles.

    Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Minnesota, Mr. Wellstone, is recognized.

    Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. Chief Justice, I have a question for the majority leader. I might not have heard this the right way. This would allow any Senator who so wishes to have his or her statements made in all of our--not just the final deliberations, but this would cover all of our sessions that have been in closed session; is that correct or not?

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I believe this would be applicable only to the final deliberations.

    Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. Chief Justice, if I could ask the majority leader whether he might be willing--it seems to me that if this is the principle, I wonder if he would amend his request to any Senator who wants to--and it is up to the Senator--this is far different than having our final deliberations a matter of public record, which is what I think we should do, but what you are saying is any Senator who so wishes can do so. Might that not apply to all of the closed sessions we had? It seems to me that the same principle applies.

    Mr. LOTT. That is not what is in this proposal. I would like to think about that and discuss it with the Senator from

    Minnesota and others. I remember making a passionate speech, but I had no prepared notes; and so I could not put it into the Record if I wanted to when we were in one of those closed sessions.

    I honestly had not considered that. This was aimed at the closing deliberations. I think we need to give some thought to reaching back now to the other closed sessions before we move in that direction.

    Mr. CRAIG addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Idaho, Mr. Craig, is recognized.

    Mr. CRAIG. Mr. Chief Justice, will the majority leader yield for a question?

    Mr. LOTT. I would be glad to yield, Mr. Chief Justice.

    Mr. CRAIG. Is my understanding correct that your motion would keep this session of deliberations closed, except for those Senators who would choose to have their statements become a part of the Congressional Record, and that it would be the choice of the individual Senators, and that the deliberations of the closed session would remain closed unless otherwise specified by each individual Senator, specific to their statements; is that a fair understanding?

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, that is an accurate understanding, and that is with the presumption that we will go into closed session, and such a motion will be made in short order.

    I want to also clarify that this is made on behalf of Senator Daschle and myself. We have consulted a great deal on this and we have both been thinking about doing something like this, but we never put it on paper until a moment ago.

    Mr. CRAIG. I thank the leader.

    Mr. COVERDELL addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Georgia, Senator Coverdell, is recognized.

    Mr. COVERDELL. I want to make an inquiry to the leader in response to the question by the Senator from California, who alluded to actual deliberations and statements among Senators. I assume that in order to go into the Congressional Record, it would require all of the participants of the colloquy----

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Parliamentarian tells me that this is all out of order.

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, if I may, in a moment I will make a motion to close the doors for deliberations. However, we have to dispose of this.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The question is on the motion----

    Mr. LEAHY. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask consent to ask the majority leader one follow-up question on his motion.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection.

    Mr. LEAHY. Mr. Chief Justice, I want to make sure I fully understand the distinguished majority leader. Our vote on what we do on the record does not include a vote on closing the session itself, it simply assumes that vote carries?

    Mr. LOTT. That is correct. That is my understanding.

    Mr. HARKIN addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Iowa, Mr. Harkin.

    Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Chief Justice, again, I ask consent that I be able to ask the majority leader a question regarding the ethics.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection.

    Mr. HARKIN. I have a question regarding the ethics rules. Under this proposed motion, could a Senator give his or her statement in public and then give the same statement in closed session and still not violate the ethics rules? I am concerned about how we might want to follow that.

    I yield to the head of the Ethics Committee for clarification.

    Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. If the motion carries, as has been outlined by the majority leader, you have every right to release your statement. That would not violate rule 29.5.

    Mr. HARKIN. I could do whatever----

    Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Your statement, yours, not anybody else's.

    Mrs. MURRAY addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Washington, Mrs. Murray, is recognized.

    Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask consent to ask the majority leader a point of clarification.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection.

    Mr. MURKOWSKI. If we reference another Senator's remarks in our statements, would we have to get that other Senator's consent in order to submit our statement, then, for the Record?

    Mr. LOTT. I am not chairman of the Ethics Committee, but I am assured by those on the committee that you would have to do so. Are we ready to move forward?

    Mr. KERRY addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Kerry, is recognized,

    Mr. KERRY. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask consent that I be permitted to ask a point of clarification.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection.

    Mr. KERRY. I ask the majority leader this: He mentioned that he hoped during the deliberations that there would be more than just speeches, that there would be a process of colloquy. I was wondering if he was contemplating how that would work because I think under the rules we are limited to one intervention of a specific time period. Does the majority leader contemplate approaching that difficulty?

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I have discussed this with the Democratic leader, and there is no ironclad rule. You know, in our other closed session when we sort of got on a roll, we yielded additional time to each other, and then at some point we started to have a round robin. The Chief Justice probably thought it was all completely out of order, but he allowed us to go forward. I think we will have to deal with that when we get there. I think, as has been the case all the way along, we will be understanding of each other and try to make these deliberations genuine deliberations. I think it would benefit us all in the final result.

    Before I make a motion to close the doors, I yield to the Senator from Texas, Mrs. Hutchison, for a parliamentary inquiry.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. We have a motion, do we not?

    Mr. LOTT. I beg your pardon.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. However amorphous it may be. (Laughter.)

    The question is on agreeing to the motion.

    The motion was agreed to.

    Mr. LOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, for that amorphous ruling. (Laughter.)

    I yield to the Senator from Texas for a parliamentary inquiry.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Texas, Senator Hutchison.

    Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. Chief Justice, rule XX says that while the Senate is in session the doors shall remain open unless the Senate directs that the doors be closed.

    My inquiry is this: If the Senate, by a majority, voted not to direct the doors to be closed, would it be in order to proceed to deliberations with the doors open?

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair is of the view that it would not be in order for this reason: On the initial reading of rules XX and XXIV of the Senate impeachment rules, it would not appear to mandate that the deliberations and debate occur in closed session, but only to permit it.

    But it is clear from a review of the history of the rules that the committee that was established in 1868 to create the rules specifically intended to require closed sessions for debate and deliberation. Senator Howard reported the rules for the committee and clearly understated his intention, and Chief Justice Chase, in the Andrew Johnson trial, stated in response to an inquiry, `There can be no deliberation unless the doors are closed. There can be no debate under the rules unless the doors be closed.'

    I understand from the Parliamentarian that it has been the consistent practice of the Senate for the last 130 years in impeachment trials to require deliberations and debate by the Senate to be held in closed session. Therefore--though there may be some ambiguity between the two rules--my ruling is based partly on deference of the Senate's longstanding practice.

    In the opinion of the Chair, there can be no deliberation on any question before the Senate in open session unless the Senate suspends its rules, or consent is granted.

    Mrs. HUTCHISON. Thank you.

    MOTION TO CLOSE THE DOORS FOR FINAL DELIBERATION

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, with that record now having been made, I now move that the doors for final deliberations be closed, and I ask unanimous consent that the yeas and nays be vitiated.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Is there objection?

    Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.

    Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. Chief Justice, the majority leader is trying to get the floor, but I wonder whether I could not move that any Senator be allowed, if he or she makes it their choice, to have our statements that have been made and passed in closed session left entirely up to us to also be a part of the Congressional Record.

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, if I could respond, give us an opportunity to discuss this with you. We will have another opportunity to do that. I think maybe we can work something out. I would like to make sure we thought it through, if that is appropriate, Mr. Chief Justice.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Is there objection?

    Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Chief Justice, I object.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Objection is heard.

    The yeas and nays are automatic. The clerk will call the roll.

    The bill clerk called the roll.

    The result was announced--yeas 53, nays 47, as follows:

    Rollcall Vote No. 16

    [Rollcall Vote No. 16]

    Subject: Motion to close the doors

    SUBJECT: MOTION TO CLOSE THE DOORS]

    YEAS--53

    • Abraham
    • Allard
    • Ashcroft
    • Bennett
    • Bond
    • Brownback
    • Bunning
    • Burns
    • Campbell
    • Chafee
    • Cochran
    • Collins
    • Coverdell
    • Craig
    • Crapo
    • DeWine
    • Domenici
    • Enzi
    • Fitzgerald
    • Frist
    • Gorton
    • Gramm
    • Grams
    • Grassley
    • Gregg
    • Hagel
    • Hatch
    • Helms
    • Hutchinson
    • Inhofe
    • Jeffords
    • Kyl
    • Lott
    • Lugar
    • Mack
    • McCain
    • McConnell
    • Murkowski
    • Nickles
    • Roberts
    • Roth
    • Santorum
    • Sessions
    • Shelby
    • Smith (NH)
    • Smith (OR)
    • Snowe
    • Stevens
    • Thomas
    • Thompson
    • Thurmond
    • Voinovich
    • Warner

    NAYS--47

    • Akaka
    • Baucus
    • Bayh
    • Biden
    • Bingaman
    • Boxer
    • Breaux
    • Bryan
    • Byrd
    • Cleland
    • Conrad
    • Daschle
    • Dodd
    • Dorgan
    • Durbin
    • Edwards
    • Feingold
    • Feinstein
    • Graham
    • Harkin
    • Hollings
    • Hutchison
    • Inouye
    • Johnson
    • Kennedy
    • Kerrey
    • Kerry
    • Kohl
    • Landrieu
    • Lautenberg
    • Leahy
    • Levin
    • Lieberman
    • Lincoln
    • Mikulski
    • Moynihan
    • Murray
    • Reed
    • Reid
    • Robb
    • Rockefeller
    • Sarbanes
    • Schumer
    • Specter
    • Torricelli
    • Wellstone
    • Wyden

    The motion was agreed to.

    CLOSED SESSION

    (At 1:52 p.m., the doors of the Chamber were closed. The proceedings of the Senate were held in closed session until 6:27 p.m., at which time, the following occurred.)

    OPEN SESSION

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate resume open session.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection, it is so ordered.

       


    Copyright © 1999 The Washington Post Company

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