April 24, 2024

Texas Lt. Gov. Rebukes House over Paxton Impeachment, Speaker Claims Bias

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued a scathing rebuke of the House of Representatives following the Senate’s acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton. House Speaker Dade Phelan quickly responded that Patrick admitted his bias after promising to be an impartial judge in the trial.

“I feel it is important to set the full record straight for the future, so the full picture of what happened is known and how it was we got here,” Patrick said from the dias before adjourning the trial. “The Speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of a statewide-elected official in Texas in over 100 years while paying no attention to the precedent.”

Speaker Phelan responded to the rebuke in a written statement and accused Patrick of admitting his bias in the matter. “I find it deeply concerning that after weeks of claiming he would preside over this trial in an impartial and honest manner, Lt. Governor Patrick would conclude by confessing his bias and placing his contempt for the people’s House on full display,” Phelan wrote. “To be clear, Patrick attacked the House for standing up against corruption. His tirade disrespects the Constitutional impeachment process afforded to us by the founders of this great state. The inescapable conclusion is that today’s outcome appears to have been orchestrated from the start, cheating the people of Texas of justice.”

Patrick went on to call for a constitutional amendment to change the rules for the impeachment process:

Any testimony given in a House impeachment investigation must be given under oath and the target must be allowed to be present with a lawyer to cross examine the witnesses. Otherwise, people can say anything without any accountability or need to be truthful because there is no threat of perjury.

The House must also give all House members a minimum of 2 weeks to review all evidence given under oath before voting on such a serious matter. Had they done these two things in May, this trial may never have happened.

When the House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate, the official in question should not be put on unpaid leave through the process. The federal system does not allow that. President Clinton and President Trump did not have to step down from their duties during their impeachment process. This is not a partisan issue.

Phelan did not respond to Patrick’s proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution. Instead, he defended the House General Investigating Committee’s handling of the impeachment process.

This impeachment was set in motion because Ken Paxton requested millions of taxpayer dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by conservative, senior employees who Paxton himself recruited to his office. These brave individuals were willing to sacrifice their reputations and careers to fight against the misconduct they witnessed, which included abuse of power, corruption, allegations of bribery, and allowing Nate Paul to act as the de facto Attorney General of Texas.

The House General Investigating Committee’s subsequent investigation into the merits of the settlement produced more than enough damning evidence to warrant impeachment. The impeachment process exists not to punish the offender, but to determine whether they have abused their power so egregiously that they are unfit for office and their removal is in the best interest of the state. It is unfortunate that the outcome of this process will ultimately relinquish control of the state’s top law enforcement agency to an individual who, I believe, clearly abused his power, compromised his agency and its employees, and moved mountains to protect and benefit himself.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott did not weigh in on the dispute between the two state leaders. In a written statement, Governor Abbott said:

The jury has spoken. Attorney General Paxton received a fair trial as required by the Texas Constitution. Attorney General Paxton has done an outstanding job representing Texas, especially pushing back against the Biden Administration. I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach.

Breibart Texas reported that the Texas Senate rejected each of the 16 considered Articles of Impeachment. At the end of the trial, Patrick signed the order of acquittal and reinstatement of Paxton as the Attorney General of Texas.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She is a trial lawyer who practices criminal defense and family law in East Texas. She was a Texas prosecutor and family court associate judge in Harris County, Texas.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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