Republican Vote Holds as Texas Senate Acquits Paxton

GOP House had approved impeachment, but party-line verdict restores attorney general to office
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2023 1:37 PM CDT
GOP Support Ensures Paxton Survives Impeachment Vote
Texas state senators acting as jurors vote on the articles of impeachment against suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Senate Chamber at the Texas Capitol on Saturday in Austin.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Republicans in the Texas Senate came to Attorney General Ken Paxton's aid on Saturday, delivering an acquittal of the impeached official on a vote at the Capitol in Austin. Paxton faced 16 articles of impeachment, each of which required 21 votes, a two-thirds majority, for conviction. On every charge, 16 of the 18 Republicans voted to clear Paxton, Axios reports. It was an all-GOP production, per the New York Times, with Republicans on the defense and the prosecution. Paxton was suspended in May, and an interim replacement took over. The acquittal restores Paxton, who's in his third term, to the office of Texas attorney general.

Senate Republicans differed from the House GOP, which had voted in a large majority to impeach Paxton, an ally of Donald Trump's. That vote followed a House investigation of allegations that Paxton illegally used his office to benefit a real estate developer and improperly fired aides who reported to the FBI that he'd accepted bribes. After the verdict Saturday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican who presided over the trial, ripped the House, saying it rushed into the impeachment case. One Democratic senator walked out during the speech. "Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on this impeachment," Patrick said.

Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, had been quiet about the case. But he issued a statement of support for Paxton shortly after the vote, saying he received a fair trial. "I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach," the statement said. Paxton still faces trial on security fraud charges, a whistleblower lawsuit, and a state bar suit over his challenge to the 2020 election results—which could bring disbarment. (Read more Ken Paxton stories.)

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