Texas will hold a summer impeachment trial for embattled GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton

Ken Paxton
(Image credit: Eleanor Dearman / Fort Worth Star-Telegram / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The Republican-led Texas House voted Saturday to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), immediately suspending him from office, and 12 newly appointed impeachment managers delivered the 20 articles of impeachment to the state Senate on Monday. The Senate then unanimously instructed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) to pick a date "not later than" Aug. 28 to start the trial. A seven-member committee will come up with recommendations on the rules of procedure for the trial and present them to the full Senate on June 20.

The articles of impeachment accuse Paxton of bribery, misuse of office, and other charges mostly related to whistleblower claims he bent his office to help a top donor in several way. The charges also nod to Paxton's unresolved 2015 state indictment on securities fraud and an ongoing FBI investigation. The House vote to impeach was 121-23, with 60 Republicans joining nearly every Democrat in approving the articles.

The unexpected move against Paxton marked "an acrimonious end to this year's legislative session in Texas, where the impeachment laid bare fractures in America's biggest red state beyond whether Republicans will oust one of the GOP's conservative legal stars," The Associated Press reported. Paxton's impeachment now drags Republicans "into a summer of unfinished business and soured feelings that are likely to spill into 2024's elections."

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Republicans pushed through a series of bills sought by conservatives, including barring gender-affirming care for transgender minors, asserting control over Democratic-run cities, and banning diversity, equity and inclusion at state universities. But Gov. Greg Abbott (R) immediately called the legislature back into what he called the first of several special sessions to revisit his other stalled legislative priorities.

"My guess is that Patrick will want to get through this as quickly as possible," Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, told The Dallas Morning News. The longer Paxton is out of office, the more it hurts him "and therefore, the Republican brand," he added, and Patrick likely would "like to get back to the normal course of business."

Paxton is only the third official in Texas history to be impeached.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.