Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing impeachment proceedings initiated by fellow Republicans who accuse him of abuse of office. Paxton, known for his staunch conservative views and alliance with former President Donald Trump, condemned his critics, asserting that his removal from office would serve as a gift to President Joe Biden and his Democratic agenda.
Paxton’s Legal Battles Against the Biden Administration
Taking a far-right stance on divisive cultural issues, Paxton has filed nearly 50 lawsuits against the Biden administration, aiming to halt what he deems “unlawful tyrannical policies.” His legal challenges encompass various subjects, including immigration, gun rights, and business regulations.
Impeachment Recommendation by the Texas House General Investigating Committee
On Thursday, the Texas House General Investigating Committee, consisting of five members, unanimously recommended Paxton’s impeachment and removal from office. The committee cited allegations of Paxton improperly assisting a wealthy political donor, conducting a sham investigation against whistleblowers in his office (whom he subsequently fired), and covering up wrongdoing in a separate federal securities fraud case, among other offenses.
Paxton’s Accusations of an “Illegal Impeachment Scheme”
Addressing the media without entertaining questions on the eve of the vote, Paxton accused House members, including the Republican majority, of orchestrating an “illegal impeachment scheme.” He claimed that corrupt politicians loyal to House Speaker Dade Phelan were leading the efforts against him.
The Impeachment Vote and Potential Consequences
The impeachment debate was scheduled to commence at 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT). If impeached, Paxton would be removed from office until a trial takes place in the Senate. Notably, Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, holds a senatorial position in the same chamber. Despite the circumstances, Paxton expressed confidence in receiving a fair trial. A two-thirds majority vote is required for his permanent expulsion from office.
Paxton’s Political Resiliency and Changing Dynamics in Texas
Despite the mounting accusations, Paxton secured a comfortable reelection victory last year, successfully fending off a primary challenge from George P. Bush, a descendant of two former presidents. This outcome highlights a shift within the Texas Republican Party, with the once-dominant business-friendly wing transitioning to embrace social conservatism over the past decade.