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AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File
As RedState reported, Texas AG Ken Paxton was acquitted of all impeachment charges on Saturday, representing a blow to Democrats and a group of Republicans who had sought to remove him from office. The impeachment centered on various corruption charges involving a real estate deal and several so-called whistleblowers.
Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, who has also helped block school choice in the Lone Star State, spearheaded the effort, with articles of impeachment officially passed in May. After a tense several hours of every individual charge being voted on, Paxton came out victorious. It would have taken 21 votes to convict, but in the end, the attorney general enjoyed majority support and never even had to break a sweat.
In response, Paxton put out a barn-burning statement, savaging those who sought to take him down.
While he went after Phelan directly, Paxton laid most of the blame on the Biden administration, claiming his impeachment was organized to punish him for his political views. At the end of the statement, he promises retribution, something that will no doubt interest many Republicans who have been waiting for a state AG to fight fire with fire. It will be especially interesting to see what Paxton does on the border crisis. He’s been sidelined since the spring, even as Gov. Greg Abbott has escalated various measures, and one would assume he’s chomping at the bit to get back to work.
Some questions about where things go next will be answered relatively soon. Paxton is scheduled to sit down with Tucker Carlson soon for an interview. You can bet he’s not going to hold back.
BREAKING: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Acquitted of All Charges
BY DARRELL FROST | PJ MEDIA
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday of impeachment charges related to bribery and abuse of office after a trial in the state senate, which lasted nearly two weeks, concluded without a vote to convict by two-thirds of the members. In fact, none of the 16 articles of impeachment considered was upheld by even a simple majority of senators.
The vote means that Paxton, who has been suspended from his duties since he was impeached by the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives in May, will remain in office. He was reelected to a third term as the state’s attorney general last year by a sizable margin.
The impeachment charges stem from a whistleblower lawsuit filed in November 2020 by four former staffers who accused Paxton of using his office to intervene in the legal affairs of a wealthy donor and wrongfully terminating them after they objected to his actions.
The allegations against Paxton received a great deal of attention during last year’s campaign, amplified consistently by his political opponents and the press, but voters opted to stick with Paxton, who has gained a reputation for opposing the Biden administration on a host of issues such as immigration, vaccine mandates, and affronts to the First Amendment.
In February of this year, Paxton agreed to a $3.3 million settlement with the whistleblowers and asked the state legislature to authorize payment of the funds. In response, moderate Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan initiated a months-long secret investigation culminating in twenty articles of impeachment against Paxton, which members of the lower chamber forwarded to the Senate by a vote of 121-23 after being given a mere three days to consider the charges.
During the brief debate in the House, it was revealed that no witnesses had been put under oath and that Paxton was denied an opportunity to give his side of the story to members of the investigating committee.
The Senate trial saw Paxton’s defense systematically unravel the overblown narrative of witnesses for the prosecution, namely that Paxton used his office to provide unmerited legal assistance to a wealthy donor who was being investigated for fraud by the FBI.
It was revealed that one witness provided no evidence when he contacted the FBI himself with concerns about Paxton’s conduct. Another confessed to not knowing whether or not his statements to House investigators were true. Yet another admitted that he applied for a position with Paxton’s office after making a number of accusations against him.
After the vote was taken, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was presiding over the trial, blasted the entire process as hopelessly flawed and ill-conceived.
With all due respect to the House, we didn’t need to be told in the final arguments how important this vote was. . . . Our members already knew that, and I’ve known that for the last three months. If only the House members who voted for impeachment would have followed that instruction in the House, we may not have been here.
In the House, the vote to send the articles of impeachment against the attorney general to the Senate happened in only a few days, with virtually no time for 150 members to even study the articles. The speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide official in Texas in over 100 years, while paying no attention to the precedent that the House set in every other impeachment before.
In the past, the House had transparent and open investigations for all to see, including other House members. The target of the investigation was notified and invited to attend with counsel and given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses that were placed under oath before testimony was taken. At the conclusion of past House investigations, the evidence was laid out for weeks for House members to evaluate, not hours before they took their vote on articles of impeachment.
Patrick said legislators should amend the Texas Constitution to prevent an impeachment like this one from ever happening again. Specifically, he said that testimony provided to House investigators should be given under oath, the official being investigated should be given the opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses, House members should be given a minimum of two weeks to review the evidence before taking a vote, and impeachment should not result in an automatic suspension from office. He also promised an audit of all taxpayer dollars spent on the impeachment process.
In his first public statement following his acquittal, Paxton said, “Today, the truth prevailed. The truth could not be buried by mudslinging politicians or their powerful benefactors. I’ve said many times: Seek the truth! And that is what was accomplished.”
This sham impeachment process coordinated by the Biden Administration with liberal House Speaker Dade Phelan and his kangaroo court has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, disrupted the work of the Office of Attorney General and left a dark and permanent stain on the Texas House.
The weaponization of the impeachment process to settle political differences is not only wrong, it is immoral and corrupt.
Paxton warned the Biden administration to “buckle up because your lawless policies will not go unchallenged. We will not allow you to shred the constitution [sic] and infringe on the rights of Texans. You will be held accountable.”
While the swamp threatens to overwhelm the federal government, it appears to have been held at bay in Texas… for now.