Texas Republicans put Trump ally Attorney General Ken Paxton on trial – NBC News

AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of people will descend on the Texas Capitol on Tuesday for the third-ever impeachment trial in state history, when Attorney General Ken Paxton will stand trial on charges of corruption, abuse of public trust and more.  

The Republican firebrand was impeached — by an overwhelming vote — in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in May on 20 articles of impeachment. Now, the state Senate — convened as a high court of impeachment — will consider whether to remove him from office. The state’s 31 senators — 19 of them Republican — will act as the jury, with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick presiding over the proceedings. Hundreds of spectators including members of the public and the media will watch from the Senate gallery above them.

It’s a dramatic fall for the man who gained a national profile as a leader of red states’ opposition on everything from health care to immigration during President Barack Obama’s administration and who became a key conservative ally for Donald Trump when he was in the White House. Paxton has denied all wrongdoing and vowed to fight the allegations.

More than 100 people have received subpoenas to testify. After they were all initially ordered to appear outside the front door of the Senate chamber on Tuesday at 11 a.m. — setting the stage for a remarkable political spectacle — Patrick amended his order to allow for witnesses to be scheduled to appear later in the trial.

The potential witnesses, who risk contempt of court if they fail to appear, reportedly include Nate Paul, the real estate developer and donor from whom Paxton is accused of accepting bribes, and current and former staffers from the attorney general’s office — some of whom told the FBI he should be investigated for bribery and abuse of office. The attorney general’s 2022 primary challenger George P. Bush and even famed Texas political strategist Karl Rove are also both on the list of potential witnesses, as is Laura Olson — the woman with whom Paxton was allegedly having an extramarital affair — according to The Dallas Morning News, which obtained the confidential witness.

State Sen. Angela Paxton, the attorney general’s wife, and state Sen. Bryan Hughes also appeared on the initial witness lists, a reminder of how inherently political and personal the proceedings are within the Texas Republican Party. Angela Paxton, who cannot vote in her husband’s impeachment trial but must attend as a juror, has since been removed, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“It’s not a criminal trial. It’s not a civil trial. It’s a political trial,” Patrick said in an interview with Fox 26 Houston, a local television station, this summer.

Paxton and his allies — including President Donald Trump — have already threatened political retribution for impeaching Paxton.

“Hopefully Republicans in the Texas House will agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or proceed—I will fight you if it does,” Trump wrote on Truth Social during House impeachment proceedings against Paxton.

Jonathan Stickland, president of the far-right Defend Texas Liberty PAC, recently appeared on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show with a candidate for Dallas County GOP chair, Lauren Davis. The pair rallied viewers to pressure a half-dozen specific Republican senators to vote against impeachment.

“We’re spending millions of dollars,” Stickland said on the show. “Anyone who votes against Ken Paxton in this impeachment is risking their entire political career and we will make sure that that is the case.”

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