Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued a harsh rebuke of the state House of Representatives after Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted on all 16 articles of impeachment filed against him. Without hearing any evidence, the House voted to impeach the duly elected attorney general in a rushed session over Memorial Day weekend.
“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 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.”
Patrick went on to call for an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would lay out a standard for future impeachment proceedings. “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,” he proposed.
“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.”
House Speaker Dade Phelan responded by accusing Patrick of failing to act as an impartial judge. “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.”
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott did not comment on the dispute between Paxton and Phelan. “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.”
Paxton was immediately reinstated as attorney general after the trial, as Texas law requires the immediate removal of an impeached lawmaker pending the outcome of a Senate trial.