Ken Paxton, who has served as the Attorney General of Texas for the past eight years, was impeached on Saturday.
Paxton was serving his third term as attorney general when the Texas House of Representatives voted 121-23, with two members voting “present”, to impeach him. The investigation found him to be involved in a pattern of corruption which included abusing his power to actively obstruct justice and retaliate against whistleblowers and adversaries.
The now-impeached attorney general has denied all wrongdoing and spoke out against the decision to remove him from office in a statement on Twitter, saying that the process demonstrated contempt for Texas voters by disregarding the law and ignoring the facts.
“The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just,” Paxton said in the statement. “It was a politically motivated sham from the beginning.”
He has been temporarily suspended and is currently awaiting a Senate trial. This trial will be tasked with deciding whether or not Paxton will be convicted. Paxton’s wife Angela Paxton, who is a state Senator, will be a part of this trial unless she decides to recuse herself. The timeline for the trial is unclear.
“The evidence is substantial. It is alarming and unnerving,” said GOP Rep. Andrew Murr, chair of the House General Investigating Committee, during his closing statement.
The committee also included Paxton’s illegal activities with political donors as one of the reasons for his impeachment.
Dozens of supporters rallied in Collin County to protest the former attorney general’s impeachment this past Memorial Day.
Governor Greg Abbott has not commented on the matter.
The last time a Texas public official was impeached was in 1976. The historic decision to impeach Paxton was one that caused a lot of stir on both sides of the political spectrum. Several fellow Republicans voted “yes” at the hearing, claiming that they could not be ignored.
"He put the interest of himself above the laws of the state of Texas," Rep. David Spiller, who also serves on the House General Investigating Committee, said to NPR. "He put the interest of himself over his staff who tried to advise him on multiple occasions that he was about to violate the law."
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