The Texas House is scheduled to vote on Saturday whether to impeach state Attorney General Ken Paxton, a conservative firebrand and ally of former President Donald Trump who has been accused by his fellow Republicans of abuse of office.
Debate is set to start at 1pm CDT (6pm GMT). If impeached, Paxton would be removed from office pending a trial in the Senate, where his wife, Angela Paxton, is a senator. A two-thirds Senate vote is needed to permanently expel him.
The 20 articles of impeachment accuse Paxton of improperly aiding a wealthy political donor, conducting a sham investigation against whistelblowers in his office whom he fired, and covering up his wrongdoing in a separate federal securities fraud case against him, among other offenses.
Paxton has denied the charges and on Friday lashed out against his critics, saying that removing him from office would be a gift for President Joe Biden and his Democratic agenda.
Staking out a position on the far right on divisive cultural issues, Paxton has sued the Biden administration nearly 50 times attempting to halt what has he labeled as “unlawful tyrannical policies” on issues including immigration, gun rights and business regulation.
The five-member Texas House General Investigating Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend that Paxton be impeached and removed from office.
“They are showcasing their absolute contempt for the electoral process. Every politician who supports this deceitful impeachment attempt will inflict lasting damage on the credibility of the Texas House,” said Paxton, who easily won reelection last year after fending off a Republican primary challenge from George P. Bush, a scion of two former presidents.
The committee has heard testimony from its investigators about several years of alleged abuse of office by Paxton, including that he provided friend and donor Nate Paul, a Texas real estate developer, with FBI files related to the bureau’s investigation into Paul.
The impeachment articles also allege Paxton engaged in bribery when Paul hired a woman with whom Paxton was having an extramarital affair.