ORLANDO, Fla. - Former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum is convinced the House will likely vote to impeach President Donald Trump on party lines with the possibility of “one or two” Republicans crossing the aisle.
In an exclusive interview with News 6 Monday, the Florida Republican predicted there is, "A 50-50 or better chance that the House will vote to impeach on a totally partisan basis.”
McCollum said he views the impeachment inquiry push as political with no real evidence of an impeachable offense that meets the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.
“The issue seems to (revolve) around a crime or abuse of power,” McCollum said. “All I can say is as of this moment, I have seen nothing that is impeachable.”
McCollum was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1998 to lead impeachment hearings against Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Clinton was charged with lying under oath and obstruction of justice.
He later apologized and avoided removal from office when the Senate voted against convicting him.
“For all of us that went through the process of impeaching the President (Clinton) it was not something we wanted to do, (or) wished to do, it was something we had a duty to do,” he said.
The case against Trump hinges on a phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
A transcript based on notes taken during the 20-minute conversation was declassified by Trump.
During that conversation, Trump asked for a “favor” to look into the removal of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was working as a consultant for Burisma, a company under investigation by Shokin.
Joe Biden pushed to have Shokin removed.
Democratic leadership is convinced Trump was “digging up dirt” on a potential 2020 presidential rival and, at the time, the leading candidate for the party.
This week, documents linked to that conversation were subpoenaed and a second whistleblower who is said to have direct knowledge of the phone conversation is expected to come forward.
The original whistleblower admits to have no direct knowledge to what was said. His concerns are based on secondhand information.
Trump calls the impeachment inquiry a “scam.”
McCollum said he is convinced the same thing that happened in 1998 and 1999 will play out in 2019.
“I think impeachment is a 50-50 proposition,” he said. “I think it will go the Senate and that will be the end of it.”
McCollum will serve as analyst for News 6 on the impeachment story.
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