Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dealt a major blow Saturday when the state’s Republican-led House of Representatives impeached him on charges that included unproven allegations of bribery and abuse of public trust.
In a 121-23 vote, Paxton’s impeachment now places him among the ranks of only three sitting officials in Texas’ nearly two-century history to face that fate.
BREAKING: The “Republican” supermajority in the Texas House of Representatives has voted to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton by a vote of 121-23.
He will now be suspended from office pending a trial in the state senate.
This is how all the representatives voted 👇 pic.twitter.com/LzaDzRSAcd
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 27, 2023
The impeachment proceedings trigger Paxton’s immediate suspension from office, pending a trial in the state Senate. It also empowers Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to name an interim replacement for Texas’ top legal position.
The Attorney General’s Office released a statement Saturday refuting the basis for the Texas House articles of impeachment.
The Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) released a comprehensive report that unequivocally refutes the incorrect testimony heard before the House General Investigative Committee. Based on the inaccuracies, falsehoods and misrepresentations provided in this testimony, the Texas House chose to proceed with the illegal impeachment of Attorney General Paxton.
The General Investigative Committee’s politically motivated investigation into Attorney General Paxton is based on long-debunked claims based on hearsay and hearsay. In August 2021, after nearly a year of diligent investigation into these claims by former employees, the Attorney General’s Office released a comprehensive report that ultimately refuted each of the former employees’ allegations. In that report, the OAG stated that it would investigate the allegations further and supplement if necessary. The OAG subsequently engaged an outside law firm to conduct further investigation into the former employees’ claims of retaliation.
This law firm investigation culminated in a report documenting the OAG’s legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons for firing each of these individuals. That report, along with other clarifying and ultimately exculpatory information, could have been readily available to the committee’s investigators if only they asked.
Additionally, an official from the Office of the Attorney General was physically present at a hearing of the House Investigative Committee on Thursday, May 25. the report, of which the official had a physical copy with him. However, the House Investigative Committee specifically chose to ignore the official’s plea offer because they were narrowly focused on advancing an illegal action that would deprive them of the votes to properly elect the attorney general. They were not interested in the truth. They were only interested in making a one-sided and well-curated case to overthrow the will of the voters.
In light of the irresponsible, baseless and illegal impeachment of Attorney General Paxton, the Attorney General’s office is now releasing the report.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the impeachment “political payback.”
“They ignored the law, ignored the facts and showed contempt for the voters of Texas,” Paxton said. “Texas voters now know that Speaker Phelan and the corrupt politicians he controls are more focused on political retribution against conservatives than the well-being of the people.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas defended Paxton as “the strongest conservative AG in the country” and called on the courts to resolve the legal disputes.
“What’s happening to Ken Paxton is a travesty. For the past nine years, Ken has been the strongest conservative AG in the country. Bar none. No attorney general has fought the abuses of the Biden administration more fiercely and more effective than Paxton,” Cruz said.
“That’s why the Austin swamp wants him out. The special interests don’t want a staunch conservative AG. I understand people are concerned about Ken’s legal challenges. But the courts should resolve them.”
Trump used his Truth Social platform to criticize Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s silence on the suspension and impending removal of Paxton as attorney general.
“MISSING IN COMBAT! Where is the Texas governor on firing his attorney general?” Trump posted.
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OPINION: This article contains comments that reflect the opinion of the author.