Ken Paxton

Focus Shifts to Texas Senate for Timing and Rules for AG Paxton Impeachment Trial

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One day after a historic and overwhelming vote against Attorney General Ken Paxton in the Texas House, the focus Sunday shifted to the Senate. The House is expected to send over the 20 articles of impeachment to the upper chamber, possibly before the regular session ends Monday.

Scott Braddock is the editor of Quorum Report and has covered every facet of what happens under the capitol dome for over 20 years.

“State statute says the Senate needs to go ahead and set a date for the trial,” Braddock told NBC5 Sunday. “Lieutenant Governor Patrick may do that or he may not, we’ll just watch that.”

Texas has seen two other impeachments, most recently in 1975, which Braddock said made Saturday’s House vote unlike any other in recent memory.

“Impeachments in this state are so rare that when something like this unfolds, even people who have been doing this at the Capitol, working in Texas Politics for decades, they’ve got to go to the owner’s manual, dust it off and say ‘how do you drive this thing’?”

What we know: Texas’ 31 state senators would serve as jurors but it’s unclear if Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, would recuse herself in a political trial against her husband.

Additionally, Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola may be called as a material witness in the trial which could possibly preclude him from casting a vote.

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A two-thirds majority, 21 votes, would be needed to remove Paxton from office.  If one senator recuses, the 21-vote threshold remains.  If two senators recuse, only 20 votes would be needed to remove Paxton.

“If you start to get into a situation where you need fewer Republicans to make that removal happen, that’s also terrible for the Attorney General,” Braddock said.

After the House vote on Saturday, some senators posted identically worded statements on social media explaining as jurors, they will discuss the case against Paxton.

Braddock added a trial would be more likely to happen sometime this summer, possibly while a special session on other unfinished legislation is expected to be called by Governor Greg Abbott.

“They could hold the trial in the morning and then do their other legislative business in the afternoon,” Braddock said. “We could see something like that or the Senate could wait until any special session about other topics is over and then only focus on the trial.”

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