Texas Attorney General Impeached by Republican-led House in Historic Vote – The House of Representatives in Texas, led by Republicans, voted to impeach Ken Paxton, the state attorney general. The impeachment charges against him include bribery and abuse of public trust. This significant action serves as a strong condemnation of a prominent conservative figure in the legal realm who has faced numerous scandals and allegations of criminal activity.
As a result of the impeachment, Paxton is immediately suspended from his position, pending the outcome of a trial in the state Senate. Additionally, the impeachment grants the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, the authority to appoint an interim replacement for the position of Texas’ top lawyer. With a vote of 121-23, the recent outcome marks a sudden downfall for Ken Paxton, one of the Republican party’s leading legal fighters. In 2020, Paxton famously petitioned the US Supreme Court to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the election.
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This impeachment makes him only the third official in Texas’ nearly two-century history to face such a severe action. Following the impeachment vote, 60-year-old Paxton expressed his disapproval, especially as several members from his own party supported the decision. His office also referred to internal reports that concluded there was no evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing on his part. “The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just,” Paxton said. ‘It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning.”
For years, Paxton has been the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation regarding allegations that he utilized his position to assist a donor. Additionally, he faced separate charges of securities fraud in 2015, although he has not yet faced trial for these accusations. While his fellow Republicans previously remained relatively silent on these allegations, their stance shifted this week.
During the opening statements, David Spiller, a Republican committee member involved in the Paxton investigation, emphasized that no individual, especially not the top law enforcement officer of Texas, should be exempt from the law. Another committee member, Charlie Geren, also a Republican, mentioned that Paxton had contacted certain lawmakers before the vote and made unspecified threats regarding potential political consequences.
Lawmakers aligned with Paxton attempted to undermine the credibility of the investigation by highlighting that the witnesses were interviewed by hired investigators rather than members of the panel itself. They also raised concerns about the political bias of some investigators who had previously participated in Democratic primaries, suggesting that this could have compromised the integrity of the impeachment proceedings. Furthermore, they argued that they were given insufficient time to thoroughly examine the evidence.
Tony Tinderholt, known as one of the most conservative members of the House, expressed his belief that the impeachment process may have been politically motivated prior to the vote taking place. As a result of the impeachment, Paxton is automatically suspended from his position, pending the trial in the Senate. To ultimately remove him from office, a two-thirds vote in the Senate would be required. It is worth noting that Paxton’s wife, Angela, is a member of the Senate.
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There has been no immediate response from representatives of the governor regarding the appointment of a temporary replacement, despite the governor previously praising Paxton during his inauguration for a third term in January. Before the vote on Saturday, Trump and senator Ted Cruz came to Paxton’s defense, with Cruz calling the impeachment process “a travesty” and saying the attorney general’s legal troubles should be left to the courts. “Free Ken Paxton,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social, warning that if House Republicans proceeded with impeachment, “I will fight you.”