The Parliamentarian's Guide to Impeachment

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Some rules that will govern impeachment proceedings:

The four articles of impeachment the Judiciary Committee sent to the House were "Highly Privileged" -- that means no riders or changes can be attached to the bill. It also means debate is supposed to be limited to an hour, but if Republicans and Democrats can agree on a duration, that could be extended.

Special Report Currently, Democrats are pushing to give each of Congress's 435 members five minutes to speak, which works out to a whopping 36 hours of wind from the Hill. Republicans, who want to get this to a vote by Saturday at the latest, will offer significantly less time.

If the Democrats decide to see the vote through to the end, the first order of business will be to push for censure. Democrats will try to get the articles of impeachment sent back to Judiciary with the instructions that the committee rewrite them, substituting "censure" for "impeach." That motion will doubtless fail, as will any other attempt at providing a censure option for the representatives. Once debate is concluded, the four articles will come to a vote.

The magic number for Bill Clinton on this and other Democratic action Friday is 218 -- that represents a simple majority in the House. The White House figures he needs 10 to 15 more undeclared Republicans for a win.

Virtually no one believes the President will escape impeachment today. So what next? Majority Leader Trent Lott said that if any impeachment articles pass the House, he will ensure that the Senate conducts a trial, which could last most of next year.