Legal Analysis: The Rules Of Impeachment Proceedings | NBC News NOW

Channel: NBC News
Published: 12/18/2019 04:32 AM

NBC News’ Danny Cevallos breaks down the rules that will apply to the impeachment proceedings. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compell...

The house rules committee is in a brief recess right now, so we're gon na bring in danny cevallos to provide some legal perspective on what we've been seeing throughout the day, a tiny room, but a whole lot going on there danny. What are the big takeaways from what we've seen so far as the rules committee kind of sets up the guidelines for tomorrow yeah the rules committee is kind of a wonky place ...
to be that we don't normally pay attention to. But this is a really important moment where the committee decides the rules that will apply to the impeachment proceedings and it gives both sides an opportunity to sound off again on issues that they thinkare important and a lot of it is stuff we've already heard, but the Real fireworks are going to be the final full vote. I was gon na say for people who are expecting this to be a little bit boring where they would just sort of go through procedures and guidelines, not the case at all. We'Re hearing a lot of the same arguments from republicans and democrats that we've been hearing for weeks now, not at all house republicans are fighting at every opportunity, and so you see echoes or hear echoes of what has been argued in the past few days and even Weeks so, but again, house rules committee, it really is convened only to come upwith the rules, the procedural rules that will apply. We don't have books of procedure the way we do in in court in civil and criminal cases that guide us lawyers and tell us what we can and can't do when it comes to impeachment. We have virtually no precedent and the house and the senate create their own rules, so here they are creating their own rules. It seems like they're gon na have a really hard time agreeing on the guidelines because it seems like they don't agree on all that much. How long could we expect to see this go on i mean, will we be here all night, keep in mind, they didn't agree on bathroom breakslast week. They can't agree on eating lunch. They couldn't agree on any of that, and that is a an all-or-nothing approach of the republicans which is fight at every turn. Ask for a roll call, do whatever you can to fight this process, so it is really in a sense, their duty to do so.

So we can expect them to continue with that mission. In this instance, have we seen any decisions so far? Have we sort of whittled things down to a set of guidelines? Are we still a long way off from that we're still a long way off? I mean this will get resolved, that it will go to the house for a vote. Buti mean this is going to be a lot more theater on both sides, because each side has to get their message out there. Eventually, the rules committee will finish its work, but not before both sides. Republicans and democrats take every opportunity to sound off about their particular viewpoint. It seems like for anyone who's been watching over the last few weeks. This is just how everything has been going in the house if it's a vote, it's generally not a quick one. If it's a markup, it is generally not a speedy conversation. Can we expect the same sort of tomorrow, as we had for house vote, that there will be lots of arguing lots of debating verylittle eye to eye absolutely i mean this is really arguably democrats last opportunity because they're not going to have the same majority in the Senate this is going to be the last day or a couple of days where they are going to be the ones in power once it goes to the senate. The republicans are in power there, but the republicans see this is also their last-ditch effort in the house to make all the arguments they can why these impeachment articles should not be voted on or they should be voted down now, statistically, they're not likely to win, but That doesn't mean they don't still see their mission in fighting at every turn. How importantis what's going on today, because if people recall impeachments past a patron doesn't always go to the rules committee to set up for votes. That'S right exactly and it didn't in the clinton situation.

I believe this is the first time it's never gone to the rules committee, because the house again, we don't have a lot of precedent and that precedent isn't technically binding. So when we talk about past impeachments, it's interesting from a historical perspective, we would never apply the same standards that we did to andrew johnson, or even going back earlier than that senator blount. The first impeachment ever. Those were different standards and the idea of precedent comes from our judiciary. That'S acourt, created rule that aren't prior cases bind our future case. It doesn't exist in the legislature, so it is historically interesting to talk about what has been done in the past, but make no mistake about it. The house has the sole power to impeach and with that comes its sole right to make rules as it sees fit. So what should people be looking for today? What should they expect at the end of the day, to walk away with they'll walk away with more speeches less on the procedural, because you know fundamentally, they have to end up taking a vote right and we know there is a democrat majority in the house. So substantively they maynot take away a lot in terms of rules and what rules will arrive that they may say it doesn't really matter what i saw today. But what you will see is more speeches, more argument and more of each side. Putting their best foot forward, is it just a foregone conclusion? I mean. I know we keep our friends, but look, it looks like the president will be impeached in the house.

Is everyone just sort of in the okay? A senate trial is coming next mentality? I mean it seems, like the white house is for sure. Yes, i mean the heavy favorite is that this is going to be an impeachment and it will go to thesenate. There are different scenarios where it might go awry. I mean there are hints that some democrats may not vote for impeachment. They may not be. They may not support it. However, the numbers appear to be there. Of course, you know, there's always surprises in politics, so anything could happen. But the strange thing about impeachment, and which makes it very different from a criminal process, is that you can get a head count from both the jurors and the grand jurors. If the grand jurors are analogized to the house, the house and the the full house, then the senate is the jury and you can get a head count, but in advance which you could neverdo in a criminal case. I hate to interrupt you. Thank you.

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