Texas Republicans put Trump ally Attorney General Ken Paxton on trial

AUSTIN, Texas — Lawyer Basic Ken Paxton pleaded not responsible to twenty articles of impeachment alleging corruption, abuse of public belief, misuse of public funds and extra, because the Texas Senate started a historic impeachment trial Tuesday.

The Republican firebrand was impeached in Could by an amazing vote within the Republican-controlled Home of Representatives over his involvement with actual property developer and donor Nate Paul. Now, the state Senate — convened as a excessive courtroom of impeachment — will decide whether or not or to not take away him from workplace.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who’s presiding over the proceedings, swore within the Texas senators as jurors on Tuesday morning, whereas some 200 spectators — together with members of the general public and the media — watched from the Senate gallery above, earlier than turning to pre-trial motions.

Paxton’s attorneys had filed greater than a dozen motions to dismiss the articles of impeachment or exclude proof from being thought-about, and all of them failed Tuesday morning when as many as a dozen Republican senators joined with the Democratic senators to vote in opposition to the motions.

However Paxton secured one key win Tuesday, when the lieutenant governor — who alone decides procedural issues, beneath the principles accredited by the Senate — determined that Paxton couldn’t be compelled to seem as a witness at his personal trial.

Home impeachment managers had sought to compel the legal professional basic to be referred to as to the witness stand, although they stated in a submitting that they anticipated he would invoke his proper to not self-incriminate.

The historic trial marks a dramatic fall for a person who gained a nationwide profile as a frontrunner of crimson states’ opposition on every thing from well being care to immigration throughout President Barack Obama’s administration and who grew to become a key conservative ally of Donald Trump when he was within the White House. Paxton has denied all wrongdoing and vowed to struggle the allegations.

Ken Paxton.Ken Paxton.Emil Lippe / The Washington Submit by way of Getty Photographs file

Greater than 100 folks have acquired subpoenas to testify, and a few of them appeared outdoors the Senate door on Tuesday. Two declined to talk, citing a gag order Patrick issued surrounding the case.

The potential witnesses reportedly embody Paul, the developer and donor from whom Paxton is accused of accepting bribes, and present and former staffers from the legal professional basic’s workplace — a few of whom advised the FBI he ought to be investigated for bribery and abuse of workplace. The legal professional basic’s 2022 main challenger George P. Bush and even famed Texas political strategist Karl Rove are additionally each on the checklist of potential witnesses, as is Laura Olson — the lady with whom Paxton was allegedly having an extramarital affair — in response to The Dallas Morning Information, which obtained the confidential witness.

State Sen. Angela Paxton, the legal professional basic’s spouse, and state Sen. Bryan Hughes additionally appeared on the preliminary witness lists, a reminder of how inherently political and private the proceedings are inside the Texas Republican Celebration. Angela Paxton, who can not vote in her husband’s impeachment trial however should attend, has since been eliminated, in response to The Dallas Morning Information.

“It’s not a prison trial. It’s not a civil trial. It’s a political trial,” Patrick stated in an interview with Fox 26 Houston, a neighborhood tv station, this summer time.

Paxton and his allies, together with Trump, have already threatened political retribution for impeaching Paxton.

“Hopefully Republicans within the Texas Home will agree that this can be a very unfair course of that shouldn’t be allowed to occur or proceed — I’ll struggle you if it does,” Trump wrote on Reality Social throughout Home impeachment proceedings in opposition to Paxton.

Jonathan Stickland, president of the far-right Defend Texas Liberty PAC, not too long ago appeared on Steve Bannon’s “Warfare Room” podcast with a candidate for Dallas County GOP chair, Lauren Davis. The pair rallied viewers to strain a half-dozen particular Republican senators to vote in opposition to impeachment.

“We’re spending thousands and thousands of {dollars},” Stickland stated on the present. “Anybody who votes in opposition to Ken Paxton on this impeachment is risking their complete political profession, and we’ll guarantee that that’s the case.”

Some Paxton supporters additionally confirmed up in hopes of seeing the articles of impeachment dismissed by the Senate.

“He obtained elected by us, they’re making an attempt to overturn our votes,” stated Kaci Sisk, president of the Bulverde Spring Department Conservative Republicans​. Sisk and members of her group arrived on the Capitol in matching crimson shirts simply after 6 a.m. to attend in line for tickets to take a seat within the Senate gallery.

“We don’t care, we don’t care. We elected him realizing every thing,” Sisk stated. “He’s the very best legal professional basic that we’ve ever had. He’s crucial to not simply the state of Texas, however to this nation. He leads the way in which for this nation.”