During Donald Trump’s rule-breaking 2016 campaign, he promised to “drain the swamp,” referring to the concentration of power and penchant for corruption among Washington’s political elite and bureaucratic class.
The culmination of that effort was probably when Trump fired FBI Director James Comey a few months after becoming president, ostensibly for botching the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server and leak emails, even though it was really an attempt by Trump, since admitted—to quash the agency’s investigation into frivolous claims of Russian election interference.
That decision was the turning point in the events that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to continue the flawed Russia investigation, which we now know was launched in response to the claims. manufactured by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
While the investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and foreign sources, it paralyzed his administration for nearly two years, which may partly explain Trump’s resistance to firing Anthony Fauci after it became clear that the policies he pushed in response to COVID-19 were bogus.
Regardless, even though the DC swamp has been exposed, the monsters that live there want to let the American people know they’re still in control, and now they’re coming after Trump and anyone close to him with a vengeance. While the former president’s prosecution has about as much merit as the Kremlin’s efforts to fight corruption, there’s a good chance Trump will be sent to prison or under house arrest within the next year, and if he’s the nominee for GOP, there will be a serious push in the states it needs to win to keep it off the ballot.
Well, the swamp is not limited to the nation’s capital. Now, it has reared its ugly head in deep red Texas.
Although the state has a reputation as a bastion of conservatism — the state has not awarded its electoral college votes to a Democrat since the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 — no Democrat has won office statewide since 1990 and Republicans have controlled both houses of the state legislature since 2003 — popular conservative policies have been thwarted for years. The mind-boggling reality is that it is not the Democrats who are behind these policy failures, but the Republicans.
Governor Greg Abbott is no Ron DeSantis, but the real problem is the Texas House of Representatives, where Republicans have empowered democrats allowing them to influence the selection of the speaker, who in turn has appointed several Democrats to chair powerful legislative committees that control which bills are voted on.
Now, the speaker and his allies, both Republicans and Democrats, are trying to remove Attorney General Ken Paxton from office through the impeachment process. accusing him of abusing the powers of his office to benefit a wealthy campaign donor and of unfairly firing subordinates who questioned his actions. The allegations come from a November 2020 Complainant’s demand filed by four of those former employees, with whom Paxton’s office agreed to settle for $3.3 million earlier this year.
However, Paxton’s alleged crimes are not the real reason Austin’s political establishment is trying to remove him from office.
His real crime is refusing to play the game favored by most politicians: he follows what he says he believes, making those who don’t look bad.
He unsuccessfully challenged the moderate incumbent Speaker of the House in 2011 when he was a member of that body, and defeated the establishment nominee for attorney general in 2014. Paxton has sued the Biden administration dozens of times over their policies on immigration, vaccines and freedom of expression. , and the environment, and led the effort to contest the 2020 presidential election at the Supreme Court when he sued four swing states to change their election rules without the approval of state lawmakers.
Although Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan secretly appointed a committee to begin investigating Paxton in February, when Paxton’s office asked the Legislature to fund his settlement with whistleblowers, the committee met to recommend impeachment charges the day after Paxton. asked Phelan to resign to preside over chamber proceedings apparently drunk, as a viral video seemed to show
Of course, Paxton denies the charges, but their accuracy isn’t really the most consequential consideration in impeachment proceedings.
Paxton was re-elected last year to 9.8% margin, fending off three primary rivals, including George P. Bush—son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and then commissioner of the Texas General Land Office—whom he defeated by 35.9% in a second round During the campaign, Paxton’s rivals repeatedly reminded voters of the allegations against him and argued that he lacked the integrity to hold office.
Unlike the concerted attempts to cover up and dismiss the corrupt foreign business dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden before the 2020 election, the press amplified Paxton’s alleged dealings relentlessly during his re-election campaign. There was ample opportunity for voters to consider the positions and choose a different candidate, but nearly 4.3 million of them indicated they preferred to stay with the incumbent.
The Texas House impeached Paxton for vote of 121-23 on May 27, suspending him from office pending the outcome of a trial in the Texas Senate, which began this week. For Paxton to be removed from office, two-thirds of the members of the Senate (21 of 31) must vote to uphold the charges against him.
Simply put, a handful of lawmakers are trying to cancel the votes of 4,278,986 citizens.
Talk about undermining democracy.
“Is it up to voters or politicians to see who stays in office?” Paxton’s attorney, Dan Cogdell, asked during the Senate trial opening statements.
“We’re living in the wet end of democracy right now,” he stated colorfully.
The Senate is made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Interestingly, one of the members is Paxton’s wife, but she will not be able to vote on her husband’s fate since the Senate passed rules that deprived her constituents of a say in the matter.
(One of the articles of impeachment alleges that Paxton provided legal favors to a real estate developer who employed a woman with whom he was having a relationship.)
None of the initial motions to dismiss the charges prevailed. The judgment is expected to last until the end of the month.
Although the outcome is uncertain, one thing is certain: the swamp will not go down without a fight.