Shameful impeachment: Trump defends Paxton

Former President Donald Trump jumped into the debate over Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial late on Wednesday night, breaking a months-long silence since chiming in the day the Texas House impeached the now-suspended attorney general.

On his Truth Social app, Trump said:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was easily re-elected last November, but now establishment RINOS are trying to undo that Election with a shameful impeachment of him. Who would replace Paxton, one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country? Could it be a Democrat, or even worse, a RINO? The voters have decided who they want! Democrats are feeling very good right now as they watch, as usual, the Republicans fight & eat away at each other. It’s a SAD day in the Great State of Texas!

Back in May, Trump weighed in on the same app half an hour before the House began consideration of the impeachment resolution, calling it “a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or proceed.”

“I will fight you if it does,” he added.

Trump and Paxton have long been aligned both in politics and direction. Paxton chaired the national “Lawyers for Trump” group in the 2020 election.

Paxton also filed a lawsuit against four other states over changes to electoral procedure enacted by their governors without legislative consent during the 2020 election — something Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did as well, which was not mentioned in the suit.

The maneuver was a Hail Mary to change the outcome of the election by releasing those states’ electors but the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the challenge.

Paxton was eventually endorsed by Trump in the 2022 midterm, but it was not a straightforward process. Despite Paxton’s juxtapositioning to Trump, the former president strongly considered endorsing George P. Bush during the race — whom the suspended attorney general’s impeachment defense counsel is framing as a central figure in the “conspiracy” to oust their client.

Bush later said that Paxton “misled the president” in the pair’s grappling for the endorsement — another example of no love lost between the two.

Trump endorsed eight officials or candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2022; state Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) voted against the impeachment, while state Reps. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City) and Frederick Frazier (R-McKinney), still a candidate when Trump endorsed him, voted for the resolution.

Among his four Texas Senate endorsements was Ken Paxton’s wife Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), who is unable to vote in the proceeding.

Trump is also very close with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is overseeing the impeachment proceeding as the presiding officer.

Recent polling of Texas GOP voters shows Trump is running away with the 2024 primary for president, for the moment. The former president remains incredibly popular among Republican voters, though Paxton’s favorability ratings among Republicans and conservatives have dipped recently.

The Paxton impeachment trial is nearing its end, with an expectation of a final judgment to come in the next few days.

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