On the eve of his historic impeachment trial, which starts next week, Ken Paxton, the state’s beleaguered suspended attorney general, fired shots at his political rivals, including members of his own party, in a rare public appearance on Saturday. A gag order bars Paxton from talking about the trial, which starts on Tuesday.
Nonetheless, Paxton attacked the Texas House of Representatives, which impeached him, in remarks to a full pavilion in a park close to his home in North Texas, and specifically mentioned its speaker, Dade Phelan.
In reference to a video of Phelan stumbling over his speech on the House floor the evening before the House announced its probe of Paxton, Paxton remarked, “We all know the name Dade Phelan, we saw the videos of what happened, and we see his leadership.” Some Phelan detractors claimed Phelan was intoxicated.
“Let’s clean house,” he remarked.
Paxton is facing 16 allegations of impeachment, several of which accuse the three-term attorney general of routinely abusing his position to support Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, a campaign contributor. By a 123–23 bipartisan majority, the Texas House accepted the articles of impeachment in May, paving the way for the state’s third impeachment trial since 1876.
Senate Impeachment Trial
At the trial that starts on Tuesday, the Senate will act as the court of impeachment and senators will be the jury. On Saturday, Paxton was joined by his wife, Angela Paxton, a two-term Republican state senator who currently represents McKinney. As a senator, Angela Paxton will take the stand during the trial but is not permitted to participate in voting or secret meetings.
But, Angela Paxton will be there when impeachment attorneys deliver their case, which includes claims that her husband requested Paul recruit a woman with whom he had an adulterous relationship. In between their back-to-back talks on Saturday, the Paxtons socialized and took pictures with supporters while on occasion holding hands and kissing.
The suspended attorney general’s reputation as a conservative warrior has helped him maintain a devoted core of support in his neighborhood, as evidenced by the dozens of supporters who crowded the pavilion at Bob Woodruff Park in Plano, many of whom were sporting Ken Paxton stickers on their shirts and others sporting Angela Paxton campaign gear.
Jacqueline Wasson, a precinct chair for the close-by Denton County Republican Party, dismissed the charges levied against Attorney General Ken Paxton while sporting a red shirt that stated, “oppose sham impeachment of AG Ken Paxton.”
According to David Russell, a precinct chair for the Collin County Republican, Paxton’s claims were already decided in his favor at the polls.