Former President Trump railed against the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), arguing that “RINOS” — or “Republican in name only” — are attempting to undo Paxton’s reelection last fall.
“Texas Attorney General Paxton was easily re-elected last November, but now establishment RINOS are trying to undo that Election with a shameful impeachment of him,” Trump wrote Thursday in a Truth Social post. “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 impeachment trial is in its second week where Paxton faces several counts of misconduct, including allegations of bribery, abuse of power and retaliation against whistleblowers. The charges are centered on the attorney general’s dealings with friend and political donor Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor.
Trump’s comments echo those of Paxton’s lawyers, who have argued voters still chose to reelect him even with news of his alleged misconduct.
“The voters have decided who they want!” the former president argued in his post. “Democrats are feeling very good right now as they watch, as usual, the Republicans fight and eat away at each other. It’s a SAD day in the Great State of Texas!”
The trial comes after a multi-year FBI investigation into Paxton after multiple senior aides accused the embattled attorney general of using his office to help Paul, who was being investigated for fraud.
Paxton allegedly interfered in litigation for his friend’s benefit and gave him access to nonpublic information, while Paul allegedly helped pay for a renovation at Paxton’s home. He was also accused of giving a job to a woman with whom Paxton was having an affair, according to the impeachment documents.
Katherine “Missy” Minter Cary, the former chief of staff in Paxton’s office, testified in the trial earlier this week where she recounted giving “ethics advice” about the risks of an extramarital affair and warned of the impact his actions could have on office morale.
Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday after Laura Olson — the woman who allegedly had an affair with Paxton — was called to the stand before the trial’s judge, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and said she would not testify, without providing further explanation.
Paxton’s defense lawyers are slated to begin presenting their defense on Thursday.
Paul was arrested by the FBI in early June, shortly after the Texas House of Representatives voted 121-23 to impeach the attorney general. A state House investigative committee said it determined Paxton “used, misused, or failed to use his official powers in a manner calculated to subvert the lawful operation of the government.”
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