Even before the impeachment trial of Ken Paxton began in the Texas Senate Tuesday, followers of the embattled attorney general were already planning revenge on the GOP state House members who voted to impeach him and the Republican senators who will be crucial in deciding his fate.
“Let’s clean house!” Paxton told a Republican picnic in Collin County, Texas, referring to fellow Republican and state House Speaker Dade Phelan, who supported the House vote to impeach the attorney general.
The final vote was 121-to-23, with a majority of Republicans joining every Democrat to support impeaching Paxton. The Lone Star State’s top law enforcement officer will now be tried by a senate of 19 Republicans — included his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton — and 12 Democrats. It will take two-thirds of the senate to remove two-termer Paxton.
Other backers of Paxton have run ads on Fox News targeting the Republican lawmakers who will decide his fate and calling on viewers to urge their senators to “stop the impeachment.”
Also sure to be a target of Team Paxton is state Rep. Andrew Murr, the leading House manager who will present the case to remove Paxton. Murr is the grandson of Texas’ legendary conservative Democrat Gov. Coke Stevenson, famed for losing the 1948 Democratic primary for U.S. senator to then-Rep. Lyndon Johnson by a disputed 87 votes.
Paxton, 60, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 16 articles of impeachment on charges that include using his state office to benefit major donor and Austin developer Nate Paul, that he attempted to use taxpayer dollars to settle a disagreement with former top staffers, and that Paul helped him conceal an extramarital affair through an Uber account under the alias “Dave P.”
Paxton’s motions to dismiss the charges were resoundingly rejected on successive votes in the senate. The most votes favoring a motion to dismiss was 10 out of the 30-member senate.
Should Paxton be removed from office, the Senate must then vote on a subsequent motion to bar him from ever holding office again. Should that be enacted, it is considered likely that wife Angela would carry on for him and seek statewide office in 2026.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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