Thursday, January 7, 1999 Published at 21:08 GMT
Sombre start to Clinton trial
Henry Hyde read the two articles of impeachment
The United States Senate has begun proceedings against President Bill Clinton in only the second presidential impeachment trial in American history.
Mr Hyde and a dozen other House of Representatives Republicans named as prosecutors for the trial appeared before the Senators, who sat silently at their desks.
"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to be silent," declared the Senate sergeant at arms, James W Ziglar.
Horse-trading behind the scenes
However, wrangling over how the trial, particularly over the calling of witnesses, is expected to continue even after the formal opening.
Most Democrat senators want a quick hearing but Republicans say they should appear.
The latest US opinion polls say the American public support the Democrats on the issue.
In a poll for CBS News, 63% of respondents said a full trial, complete with witnesses and testimony, was unnecessary.
The latest Gallup poll for CNN suggested 62% of the American public did not want the trial to last more than a few days.
More than half of respondents thought there should be no trial at all.
Approval from 67 of the 100 senators would be needed for President Clinton to be convicted and removed from office.
Correspondents say that is unlikely in a Senate comprising 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats.