Impeachment A Lengthy Process

The House vote Thursday to launch an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton set off a lengthy legislative process, most of which is outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

The next step, says Georgetown University Constitutional Law Professor Susan Low Bloch, is for the Judiciary Committee to read the report, look at the evidence, and see whether it warrants impeachment. All of this probably will begin after the Nov. 3 elections.

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"Impeachment is sort of like an indictment," Bloch told CBS This Morning co-anchor Thalia Assuras. "It's like a grand jury indictment."

After its hearings, the Judiciary Committee could vote to recommend that the House vote to impeach. The House would then hold its own investigation and debate before conducting a vote.

If a majority of the House decides to vote for impeachment, the matter goes to the Senate for a trial.

Will the president testify before the House or Senate?

"I don't know, " Bloch said. "They won't demand it. It will be his choice. He's a very effective speaker. He might choose to address them in some form."

Two-thirds of the nation's 100 Senators would have to agree before the president was removed from office. Most Capitol Hill observers believe that there won't be 67 votes in the Senate, as it is now constituted, to remove Mr. Clinton from office.

"The problem will be," said Bloch, that it will take a very long time to go through that. Eventually, he will probably remain in office."