Fair Trial

The White House would have Americans believe that President Clinton is the innocent victim of a GOP vendetta. It claims "partisanship" over Senate rules for wrapping up the impeachment trial.

It's true that the package passed on a straight party-line vote. But it sets up a procedure that is fair to both the president and the House prosecutors.

Depositions of the three witnesses will be taken with two senators, one from each party, presiding. House prosecutors could ask for additional witnesses or evidence discovery only with the consent of both majority leader Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi and minority leader Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota. That effectively gives Democrats a veto.

If neither side calls additional witnesses, the Senate would proceed to closing arguments and vote on the impeachment articles Feb. 12. Presumably it will acquit the president. The Senate is treating him fairly.

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