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The impeachment process, explains – The New York Times



For example, Craig said, the initial rules in this case gave four days to Republican managers to enforce a conviction, followed by four days for the president's legal department to defend him. These were essentially introductory statements. The Senate then decided if witnesses should be heard, and if so, whether it should be live or on video. Finally, the Senate allowed each page to screen several witnesses.

The rules passed by the Senate in the Clinton case – including those that limited the number of witnesses and the duration of the executions – made it difficult to prove a case in court in a federal court, said former Rep. Bob Barr, Republican Georgia, who served as a caretaker during the trial and is also a former US attorney.

"Punishment is a creature unto itself," said Barr. "The jury in a criminal case does not set rules for a case and can not decide what evidence they want to see and which they do not."

There are not many in the Constitution, so deprivation and impeachment are both a matter of political will and legal analysis.

For example, the Constitution does not contain details of how the legislature can decide what to consider as punishable "treason, bribery or other serious crime and offense" or not. Likewise, there is no established standard of proof that must be complied with.

The Constitution clearly states that the next step for the Senate is to carry out a process when Parliament accuses a federal official. But there is no obvious enforcement mechanism if Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and Majority Leader, would simply refuse to convene one – as he refused to allow a hearing to approve and vote on Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, filling a vacancy at the Supreme Court in 2016.

Walter Dellinger, a professor of law at Duke University and a former Attorney General in the Clinton administration, said it was unclear whether it was Mr. McConnell or Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. , who would have the power to convene the Senate to review impeachment proceedings passed by him.


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