Paxton speaks out ahead of impeachment vote scheduled for Saturday
Paxton calls impeachment proceeds “illegal.
(The Center Square) -
Attorney General Ken Paxton held a press conference Friday afternoon ahead of the Texas House scheduling a debate and vote on Saturday to impeach him.
He said the charges, which experts and the Attorney General argue, are false and the process is illegal.
Flanked on both sides by his staffers, Paxton said, "By proceeding with this illegal impeachment scheme to overturn a decision made by Texas voters just a few short months ago, the corrupt politicians in the Texas House are demonstrating that blind loyalty to Speaker Dade Phelan is more important than upholding their oath of office.
"They are determined to ignore the law. They have denied me the opportunity to present the evidence, which contradicts their politically motivated narrative, and they are showcasing their absolute contempt for the electoral process."
Paxton said those supporting the "deceitful impeachment attempt" would "inflict lasting damage on the credibility of the Texas House," in which he previously served.
He also said the House "is poised to do exactly what [President] Joe Biden has been hoping to accomplish since his first day in office—sabotage our work, my work, as Attorney General of Texas."
Paxton said the plan to oust him could derail litigation against the Biden administration.
"There is no other state in this country with so much influence over the fate of our nation and this is solely because of the relentless challenges I bring against Biden's unconstitutional policy agenda," he said, citing Texas suing the Biden administration nearly 50 times so far "to end his unlawful tyrannical policies."
While the House "was killing essential bills on crime and illegal immigration and plotting their illegal impeachment scheme in secret it was business as usual for me," he said.
Paxton's office filed several lawsuits against the Biden administration this week. On Tuesday, his office sued the Department of Homeland Security over its CBP One App. On Wednesday, it sued the Hilton for violating consumer protection laws. Paxton's office announced Thursday it sued the IRS for policies negatively impacting child support services, in addition to his office prosecuting other cases, solving cold cases, and "holding predatory corporations accountable when they harm the public," he said.
He also said he was grateful for the "outpouring of support he's received from those who understand this process is unjust and unethical. The fact that I was prohibited from providing evidence to defend myself reveals that this shameful process was curated from the start as an act of political retribution."
He also invited Texans to peacefully come to the Capitol and "let their voice be heard."
"Exercise your right to petition your government," he said. "Let's restore the power of this great state to the people instead of to the politicians."
He said he hopes the House "will make the right decision," but if it doesn't, he believes the Senate "will make a fair and just decision."
Chris Hilton, chief of the OAG General Litigation Division, said he tried to present the facts to the committee but wasn't allowed to. He told reporters Friday, "The articles of impeachment presented by the House are completely meritless. The claims that have been made by the … committee have been thoroughly researched and debunked time and time again. These allegations have been put to the voters time and time again."
He said the committee could have asked the AOG for "interviews, testimony and documents, anything that would shed light on these allegations" or included it in the investigative process. "Instead, they threw us out of the committee hearing yesterday when we showed up with documents and reports that would disprove these spurious allegations. They didn't even want to hear our side of the story," he said.
"The committee concocted this scheme behind closed doors and in less than three days, we've gone from a mysterious 'Matter A' to a full-blown impeachment vote," he added.
He also pointed out several examples of basic facts committee members and investigators got wrong, including the settlement terms, which clearly state the legislature has the final say on them, contrary to what the chief counsel claimed on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Committee Chair Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, issued 20 articles of impeachment at the dais, calling the allegations against Paxton "grave." The articles range from claims of disregard of official duty, misapplication of public resources, constitutional bribery, obstruction of justice, false statements on official records, conspiracy and attempted conspiracy, misappropriation of public resources, dereliction of duty, unfitness for public office, and abuse of public trust.
Four hours of debate is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a vote.
With 150 members in the House, a simple majority, including at least 12 Republicans and all 64 Democrats, is needed to vote against Paxton. If all 85 Republicans in the majority don't vote to impeach him, the measure would fail. If the House votes to impeach Paxton, a trial will be held in the Senate.