The Texas Senate on Sunday was set to begin deliberations to permanently remove from office Attorney General Ken Paxton, a conservative firebrand and ally of former President Donald Trump, who was impeached by the House this weekend over accusations by fellow Republicans of abuse of office.
After hours of debate on Saturday, the House voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton, which immediately suspended him from office awaiting a final decision from the Texas Senate, where his wife, Angela Paxton, is a senator. Both the House and Senate have Republican majorities.
Proceedings are expected to start at 1 p.m. local time on Sunday and Paxton had earlier called for protests at the state Capitol in Austin.
Paxton has denied the accusations and denounced the proceedings as “illegal, unethical, and profoundly unjust” in a statement on Twitter after Saturday’s vote.
“The ugly spectacle in the Texas House today confirmed the outrageous impeachment plot against me was never meant to be fair or just,” he said, calling it a political sham.
“I look forward to a quick resolution in the Texas Senate, where I have full confidence the process will be fair and just,” he said.
Trump, on his social media platform Truth Social, defended Paxton and wrote: “Free Ken Paxton.”
The 20 articles of impeachment presented by a Republican-led House committee accuse Paxton of improperly aiding a wealthy political donor, conducting a sham investigation against whistleblowers in his office whom he fired, and covering up his wrongdoing in a separate federal securities fraud case against him, among other offenses.
Paxton, who had previously served in the House and Senate, has staked out a position on the far right on divisive cultural issues. He has sued the Biden administration nearly 50 times attempting to halt what has he labeled “unlawful tyrannical policies” on issues including immigration, gun rights and business regulation.
Paxton has repeatedly gone after Alphabet’s Google, leading to a $8 million settlement in mid-May to settle allegations of deceptive advertising to promote the Pixel 4 smartphone. It sued the company in 2020, accusing it of breaking antitrust laws to boost its already dominant advertising business. That lawsuit is ongoing.
(This story has been corrected to fix the vote tally to say 121-23 instead of 121-33 in paragraph 2)
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Heather Timmons and Andrea Ricci)