A historic impeachment trial in Texas to determine whether Attorney General Ken Paxton should be permanently removed from office will begin no later than August in the state Senate, where the jury that would determine his future could include his wife, Sen. Angela Paxton. Setting a schedule was one of the last orders of business Monday during an acrimonious end to this year’s legislative session in Texas, where the impeachment laid bare fractures in the biggest red state beyond whether Republicans will oust one of the GOP’s conservative legal stars, the Associated Press reports. It drags Republicans — who for years have pushed fast-changing Texas farther to the right — into a summer of unfinished business and soured feelings that are likely to spill into 2024’s elections.
The stakes are also raised for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who couldn’t get his full agenda through the GOP-controlled legislature on time. He called lawmakers back to work for the first of “several” special sessions in the coming months. At the center of the conflict in the Texas Capitol is Paxton, who the GOP-controlled House overwhelmingly impeached this weekend on charges that include bribery and misuse of office after nearly a decade of scandal and criminal accusations that have dogged the state’s top lawyer. He is suspended from office pending trial in the Senate, which set a start date of no later than Aug. 28. Underlining the fallout of Paxton’s impeachment, the session ended with a dozen House lawmakers walking across the building and delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate, where there are 31 senators who could act as jurors. In a complicating twist, one of them is Sen. Angela Paxton, who has not spoken publicly since her husband’s impeachment or said whether she will recuse herself from the proceedings.