Texas congressional members sound off on Paxton impeachment trial

Republicans were not in agreement about whether they supported suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

A person walks in front of the U.S. Capitol building at dusk, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
A person walks in front of the U.S. Capitol building at dusk on Jan. 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Credit: Julia Nikhinson for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — The impeachment trial for suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is underway and attracting attention from members of Congress.

Senator John Cornyn who used to be Texas’s attorney general mentioned that he has been occasionally watching the trial. He finds the accusations against Paxton very troubling.

I believe things are happening as they should Cornyn told reporters last week. In the past Cornyn has said that Paxton’s problems make Texas look bad.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, didn’t respond to questions about the trial but has previously denounced the impeachment proceedings.

Rep Chip Roy from Austin who used to work closely with Paxton is now against his old boss. In 2020 Roy asked Paxton to quit his job.

“On Friday, Roy shared a message on X, which used to be called Twitter. In his message, he expressed his support for David Maxwell, who used to be a Texas Ranger and a top deputy in Paxton’s office. Maxwell was on the witness stand on Friday. He was one of the people who told the FBI about Paxton’s actions. He also said that he advised Paxton to stay away from Nate Paul, a political donor. Paxton is accused of using his position to help Paul inappropriately.”

“I stand squarely alongside David Maxwell & those standing with him,” Roy said. “He is a Texas Ranger, law enforcement veteran over 4 decades, & my friend. His integrity is rock solid against political hot air.”

“Representative Lance Gooden from Terrell shared that he’s paying close attention to the trial. He also had good things to say about Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who is acting as the judge in the trial. He called Patrick thoughtful and fair.”

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Gooden said he thought the defense had effectively discredited Maxwell in his Friday testimony.

“The Paxton defense team is likely celebrating a winning Friday after an esteemed Texas Ranger transformed into a non-credible witness for the House,” Gooden said in a statement to the Tribune.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Amarillo, also backed Paxton and blamed the “Swamp in Austin.”

“We’re not learning anything new about Ken Paxton. All this information was known before the last election and the voters chose him. It’s unfortunate that some powerful people are trying to go against what the voters wanted. They’re not listening to the people’s decision!

Paxton is facing 16 articles of impeachment alleging years of corruption and bribery, as well as misuse of power to help his friend investigate his rivals while his businesses were floundering.

Democrats were quick to pile on against the attorney general.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a former state lawmaker, criticized Paxton’s “clear violation” of the law and office policy.

“What I’ve noticed during my time in the Texas Legislature is that Paxton and his friends seem to believe they can do whatever they want while they should be serving the public. It’s like they think they can break the laws they create without getting into trouble Crockett, a Dallas Democrat, said in a statement to the Tribune.

Representative Sylvia Garcia a Democrat from Houston formerly a state senator and one of the seven prosecutors during former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment case expressed hear belief that the trial appears to be conducted fairly.

“You can notice that many of them think there is a lot of evidence against the attorney general based, on what we heard so far. We’re just waiting to see what will happen Garcia told the Tribune.”

Also a veteran of the Texas Legislature, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said Paxton should have been impeached “a long time ago.”

“When I got to the Texas Legislature at 28 years old in 2003 Ken Paxton, also a freshman, had his office directly across from mine,” Castro posted on X. “In the years since he’s committed fraud and other corrupt acts.”

Louie Gohmert a former Republican congressman who competed against Paxton for attorney general in 2022 believes that Paxton should be brought to trial for his actions. Gohmert expressed his views in an article he wrote for the Daily Caller.

Gohmert stated that the trial is causing a split among conservatives.” He also mentioned that certain, Texas lawmakers are receiving threats from Paxton allies, if they choose to vote for the removal of the attorney general from his position.”

“I’ve seen corrupt prosecution,” Gohmert wrote. “Pursuing Paxton is not it.”

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