Texas House Impeaches Attorney General Ken Paxton Over Abuse of Office Allegations

A momentous decision unfolded in the Texas House on Saturday as Attorney General Ken Paxton, a prominent conservative figure and close ally of former President Donald Trump, faced impeachment proceedings. Paxton, who has been accused by fellow Republicans of abusing his office, was met with a resounding vote of 121-23 in favor of impeachment, marking a significant turning point in the state’s political landscape.

Following hours of impassioned debate, the House’s historic vote now compels Paxton to step down temporarily from his role until a trial is held in the Senate, where his wife, Angela Paxton, serves as a senator. The Texas Senate, presently in recess, is scheduled to convene on Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT), as indicated on its official website.

Denying the accusations leveled against him, Paxton took to Twitter to condemn the impeachment proceedings as “illegal, unethical, and profoundly unjust.” He expressed confidence in the fairness and justness of the forthcoming Senate trial, stating, “I look forward to a quick resolution in the Texas Senate.”

Prior to the House vote, Trump, who seeks re-election in 2024, took to his social media platform, Truth Social, and pledged to “fight” alongside Texas House Republicans in the event of Paxton’s impeachment.

The articles of impeachment, consisting of 20 counts, were presented by a House committee led by Republicans. These charges allege that Paxton improperly extended assistance to a wealthy political donor, orchestrated a deceptive investigation against office whistleblowers whom he subsequently terminated, and engaged in concealing his involvement in a separate federal securities fraud case, among other offenses.

The impeachment proceedings against Paxton laid bare the deep divisions within the Texas Republican Party. While some fervently advocated for the impeachment of the state’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, others staunchly opposed it. Representative David Spiller, voicing support for the impeachment, argued that Paxton had consistently and flagrantly violated laws, rules, policies, and procedures. However, Representative John Smithee, a seasoned conservative member of the chamber, criticized the process and highlighted the lack of sufficient evidence, stating, “There is not word, not one sentence in the testimony before you that would be admissible in any Texas court of law. It is hearsay within hearsay within hearsay.”

Paxton, known for his far-right stance on contentious cultural issues, has vigorously pursued legal action against the Biden administration, filing nearly 50 lawsuits in an effort to halt what he perceives as “unlawful tyrannical policies” regarding immigration, gun rights, and business regulation.

The Texas House General Investigating Committee, comprising five members, unanimously recommended Paxton’s impeachment and removal from office on Thursday after hearing testimony from investigators regarding years of alleged abuse of power. These accounts included accusations that Paxton had furnished his friend and donor Nate Paul, a Texas real estate developer, with FBI files linked to an ongoing investigation. The impeachment articles further alleged Paxton’s involvement in bribery, asserting that Paul had employed a woman with whom Paxton was engaged in an extramarital affair.

Paxton successfully secured re-election last year after fending off a primary challenge from George P. Bush, a scion of two former presidents.

As this historic impeachment saga unfolds, its outcome remains uncertain. The state of Texas stands poised to witness a trial in the Senate, where Paxton’s fate will ultimately be determined.

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