Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Impeached by Republicans : NPR


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Conservative Party Political Action Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, July 11, 2021.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Conservative Party Political Action Conference at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, July 11, 2021.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas — In a historic vote on Saturday, the Texas House of Representatives decided to impeach Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton for alleged misconduct related to one of his political donors.

Mr. Paxton will be suspended immediately and temporarily pending trial in the state Senate.

Republican Rep. David Spiller, a member of the House General Investigation Committee, told members he believed Paxton had “good legal thinking” but was still breaking the law. rice field.

“He put his own interests ahead of Texas law,” Spiller said. “He put his own interests ahead of staff who repeatedly tried to admonish him for trying to break the law.”

and statement on twitter After the vote, Paxton said, “Today’s ugly spectacle in the Texas House of Representatives confirmed that the outrageous impeachment plan against me was never meant for fairness or justice. It was a politically motivated hoax from the start. ‘ wrote.

The impeachment motion has now gone to the Texas Senate, which is tasked with starting a trial and deciding whether to convict the Attorney General.

historic vote

Paxton joins a small list of Texas officials who have been impeached. The last time was in 1976.

He denied allegations of wrongdoing and said the procedure was “bogus” and illegal. He also continues to argue that impeachment resolutions fail to protect Texans from the federal government.

“Their conspiracy is a serious undertaking against the Biden administration by my office to stop federal attacks on our constitutional rights and the rule of law,” Paxton told reporters on Friday. It jeopardizes litigation.”

Paxton also claims he was never given an opportunity to testify before the House General Commission of Inquiry.

But Democrat Rep. Anne Johnson, a member of the investigation committee, said Mr. Paxton had already told his story in a document posted on his website in response to the whistleblower’s complaint. Stated.

not a partisan vote

On Saturday in the House floor, both Republicans and Democrats voted for and against impeaching Mr. Paxton.

Republican Rep. Charlie Jellen, a member of the House General Commission of Inquiry, said several members of Congress had received calls from Mr. Paxton personally threatening him with political influence in the upcoming election.

“One of the key responsibilities of the General Commission of Inquiry is to take the necessary steps, across party lines, to protect our nation and the institutions of government,” Gelen said. “We will do just that today with this determination.”

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives sent voters an email asking for their support in considering whether to impeach Mr. Paxton.

Rep. Cody Harris, a Republican from Palestine, Texas, said in an email that decisions before lawmakers “cannot be ignored, especially those made by the state’s chief law enforcement officer.” Harris voted “yes” for impeachment.

Minutes before the Texas House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings on Saturday, former President Donald Trump posted on social media that Mr. Paxton was a friend and that he would “fight” any Republican party that allowed the impeachment to proceed.

“Free Ken Paxton,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social. “Please wait until the next election!”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton greets former US President Donald Trump at the “Save America” ​​rally in Robstown, Texas on October 22, 2022. Paxton was impeached and suspended on May 27, 2023.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton greets former US President Donald Trump at the “Save America” ​​rally in Robstown, Texas on October 22, 2022. Paxton was impeached and suspended on May 27, 2023.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Allegations against Paxton

In Saturday’s vote, lawmakers listened attentively as members of the House General Inquiry laid out the 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton.

Some relate to Paxton’s 2015 federal securities fraud indictment, which has yet to go to trial, but most of the allegations relate to Paxton’s relationship with Austin real estate investor Nate Paul. are doing.

Paul, who donated $25,000 to Paxton’s campaign in 2018, asked Paxton to intervene in an FBI investigation in 2020.

Mr. Paxton followed suit, hiring an outside lawyer to step in and sidestep his agency’s policy of issuing subpoenas that benefited Mr. Paul, according to investigators hired by the House of Representatives.

Investigators also found that Mr. Paxton coerced staff to rewrite opinions on COVID-19 restrictions to Paul’s benefit.

“In the last 72 hours, I’ve learned why Ken Paxton is so desperate to keep his case in the court of public opinion,” said Rep. Johnson, a Democrat. It’s the body,” he said. Investigative committee.

Ally of Paxton

Some Republicans voted for impeachment, but Mr. Paxton continues to have allies in the Texas House of Representatives.

Republican Rep. John Smithee, who voted against impeachment, questioned the evidence the House used to advance Paxton’s impeachment.

“This House cannot lawfully, in good faith, on the basis of the rule of law, impeach General Paxton today on the record it has hitherto,” Smithee said.

Mr. Smithee did not defend Paxton, but made it clear that the process was problematic.

“We have to defend not only the final result and the method of voting that was reached today, but also the process by which this decision was made,” Smithee said. “For me, the process is indefensible.”

The timing of a trial in the Texas Senate is unclear.

Ken Paxton’s wife, Texas Senator Angela Paxton, will have a vote on the issue unless she declines.

Senate Majority Leader Dan Patrick said in an interview with WFAA that the Senate will serve on the jury.

“I think the members will do their duty,” Patrick said.





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