This day in history: Jan. 7, 1999

The Senate trial in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton begins.
4:46 | 01/04/19

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Transcript for This day in history: Jan. 7, 1999
The opening of the president's trial in the senate was very solemn. Though by tonight the mood in the capital had turned to serious Rinker again over how the trial should proceed. It has been one of those rare days that people will not forget whether they were in the senate chamber or were watching it. On television. Can be an hour. Is will take a state to go to Oprah the senate chaplain. Grant the senators the ability to exercise clear judgment. Without charge about autism. Today unite the sun that in non partisan commitment. To the procedures that will most effectively result. The grave matters before them and our nation. The Republican members of the House of Representatives who impeach the president. Walked solemnly from their chambers to the senate. These managers will now be the president prosecutors. Decided at all when make approximately. Varying varying where he. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment. While the house of represented aids is exhibiting to the senate of the United States. Articles of impeachment. Against William Jefferson Clinton president of the United States. Mr. President the managers on the part of the House of Representatives are here in present. And ready to present the articles of impeachment which of them preferred. By the House of Representatives against William Jefferson Clinton president. But the United States and then this afternoon. This caught them anyone that conduct the Chief Justice of the United States did than that in the end there's a no. Senators. I attend the senate in conformity with your notice for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the president of the United States. And are now ready to take field. What you pay show they have had on the problem and raise your right hand. Gators Tomas Y yeah. Then all thanks effort to aid his job that page photo William Geoff and parent presently states that pending. You are doing am part of justice at card to the constitution and Wallace. Have I do. Well all senators now stand and raise your right hand do you solemnly swear. Than are all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. President of the United States now pending you'll do impartial justice or core of the constitution and laws so help you go off. All 100 senators testified that they had taken the oath as a moment in their lives which they will surely never forget. As moving as this was to watch on television and it was moving it was essentially a formality the real business had to do today. With trying to hammer out a deal to actually run the trial how Long Will it be this whole issue of whether there will be witnesses would there be any resolution today. ABC's Linda Douglass is on Capitol Hill tonight when that that was quite today. Quite a day and all day long behind closed doors and publicly as well senators of both parties were warning that the senators running the risk of degenerating into the same kind of partisan battle ground that the house did so tonight the leaders of both parties of the senate came out and announced that. All 100 senators will meet in a closed session to try one more time. To try to hammer out a bipartisan agreement. Under the Republican plan the White House would have until Tuesday to file a response to the articles of impeachment. House manages would respond to that and oral arguments would begin next Thursday each side would have three to five days for opening arguments. Then each side could make its case for calling witnesses but senators would have to vote on whether to call each one. That raises the possibility of some dip a call votes on whether to call people like Monica Lewinsky. Those Republicans who want a quick the end of the trial hope their colleagues will be so tired of listening to the tawdry details of the case. They will decide not to have any witnesses at all. Under the democrats' plan arguments also would start next week but there would be no witnesses and the schedule would be much shorter. Each side would have three days to make its entire case. As soon as the arguments were over senators would vote on whether to remove the president from office. The issue of witnesses is still the big sticking point but tonight again the leaders of both parties claimed that they are all getting closer together now. The Peter is not at all clear how they're going to bridge the gap.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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