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Senate Split Over 2-Vote Plan

It was Sen. Susan Collins, a first-term moderate Republican from Maine, who first talked publicly about a plan called "findings of fact," to keep the president from declaring victory after acquittal.

"Impeachment is overwhelming everything else," she said.

Her solution for finding an end to the impeachment mess is a proposal that would not use the legal words cited in the articles of impeachment, but implicate the president in wrongdoing nonetheless, a so-called "findings of fact," reports CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones.

Instead of perjury, the president would be accused of "willfully providing false and misleading testimony to a grand jury."

Instead of obstruction of justice, words like "wrongfully engaged in conduct to delay discovery—coverup evidence—and alter testimony in a federal lawsuit" would be used.

Votes on findings would come forward before senators voted on the actual articles of impeachment and it would take only 51 votes to pass.

The proposal has caused the White House to go ballistic, attacking those pushing the "findings" idea.

"It is unconstitutional," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

Lanny Davis, one of the president's lawyers, even called a Maine radio station to ridicule callers and Sen. Collins.

"You are frustrated and in a minority of hating Bill Clinton. As a minority of this country, you are willing to subscribe to a kangaroo court like process that Sen. Collins has proposed," Davis said.

What would be the political and legal impact of "findings of fact?"

"It would be an additional stain on the president and that is why they don't like it," Michael Gerhardt, an impeachment scholar, said.