Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Texas attorney general urges supporters to protest at Capitol ahead of impeachment vote Texas


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has urged his supporters to protest at the state capital when Republicans in the House of Representatives begin historic impeachment proceedings against him.

The State House has set a Saturday vote to consider impeaching Paxton and suspending him from office on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of public trust — just some of the charges that have plagued him for most of his three terms. Trapped for.

Paxton, a 60-year-old Republican, denounced the impeachment proceedings as “political theater” that would “do permanent damage to the Texas House”, adding to his earlier claims that it was an attempt to discredit those voters. who returned him to office. in November.

“I want to invite my fellow citizens and friends to come peacefully so that their voices can be heard at the Capitol tomorrow,” he told a news conference, taking no questions. “Exercise your right to petition your government.”

The request echoes former President Donald Trump’s call for people to protest against his election defeat on 6 January 2021, when a mob violently attacked the US Capitol in Washington. Paxton, who had spoken at a rally prior to that rebellion, called his supporters to the Texas Capitol on the day the governor was to deliver a Memorial Day address to lawmakers.

If impeached, Paxton would be immediately suspended from office and Republican Governor Greg Abbott would appoint an interim replacement.

The Republican-led committee quietly spent months investigating Paxton and recommended his impeachment Thursday on 20 articles. Paxton has said that the allegations are based on “hearsay and gossip, repeating longstanding unproven claims”.

as told by Texas TribuneThe four investigators, testifying before the House General Investigations Committee on Wednesday, described in “painstaking and systematic detail” the ways in which they said Paxton violated several state laws.

The Tribune said investigators said they believe Paxton improperly spent official funds and abused his authority to help his friend and financial backer.

Prominent conservatives have been particularly quiet on Paxton, but some began rallying around him on Friday. State Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi criticized the process as a “sham” and urged the Republican-controlled Senate to acquit Paxton if he stood trial in that chamber.

Echoing Paxton’s criticism of Republican House Speaker Dede Phelan, Rinaldi said, “This builds on accusations already made by voters, led by a liberal speaker trying to undermine his conservative opponents.” He said that by acquitting Paxton the Senate would have to “restore sanity and sanity”.

It is unclear how many supporters Paxton may have in the House, but only a simple majority is needed to impeach. This means that only a tiny fraction of the 85 Republican members would need to vote against Paxton if all 64 Democrats do so. Final removal would require two-thirds support in the Senate, where Paxton’s wife, Angela, is a member.

The move to impeach Paxton could be a remarkably sudden downfall for one of the Republican Party’s most prominent legal combatants, who in 2020 asked the US Supreme Court to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.

Paxton has been under investigation by the FBI for years over allegations that he used his office to help a donor. He was indicted separately on securities fraud charges in 2015, but has yet to stand trial.

When the five-member committee’s investigation came to light on Tuesday, Paxton suggested it was a political attack by Phelan, calling for his resignation. Phelan’s office dismissed this as an attempt to “save face”.