The handwriting on the wall just lit up in neon lights. The New York Times is reporting that “the Texas Senate voted to acquit the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, after a nine-day impeachment trial that focused on allegations of corruption and divided the Republican Party in Texas. Mr. Paxton, who had been suspended during the trial, was set to immediately resume his position.” This is not, I repeat not, a story of issues within the Texas GOP. This trial is a regional microcosm of what’s wrong with the entire GOP and what’s wrong with the GOP is what’s killing this country right now. That’s why this acquittal is a screaming BFD on steroids.

And I’m not being hyperbolic, unfortunately, despite appearances to the contrary. That is the state of play right now in the last three and a half months before a contentious election year. Corruption is the name of the game. Walking scot free from wrongdoing is what the GOP has demonstrated, yet one more time, that they are about. The day may be fast approaching that Donald Trump can shoot somebody in the middle of 5th Avenue and walk.

Paxton was tried on 16 articles of impeachment related to accusations, leveled primarily by former top deputies who became whistle-blowers, that Mr. Paxton had abused his office to help the real estate investor, Nate Paul, who was said to have given Mr. Paxton help with home renovations and an extramarital affair in return.

The case has been closely watched around the country. Mr. Paxton has led a variety of legal challenges to the Biden administration on issues relating to immigration, abortion and the 2020 election, among others.

A majority of Republicans in the Texas House voted in May to impeach Mr. Paxton, but the Senate failed to uphold those findings.

It would have taken a two-thirds vote — 21 of the 31 senators — in favor of conviction on any of the 16 articles to remove him from office.

Both Mr. Paxton and Mr. Paul have denied any wrongdoing.

Here’s what to know:

  • The trial featured eight days of testimony from 19 witnesses, including former senior aides to Mr. Paxton like Jeff Mateer, who were alarmed by unusual legal interventions by the attorney general in matters connected to Mr. Paul and eventually reported them to law enforcement.

  • At one point, the prosecution called as a witness Laura Olson, a former staff member for a Republican state senator and the woman with whom Mr. Paxton had the extramarital affair. Mr. Paxton’s lawyers immediately objected, and she ultimately did not testify.

  • The trial featured clashes between larger-than-life Texas lawyers. In Mr. Paxton’s corner, there was Tony Buzbee, who successfully defended Rick Perry, a former Texas governor, against charges of abuse of office. The prosecution had at its center Rusty Hardin, a defender of criminally accused athletes like Roger Clemens and Scottie Pippen.

  • The impeachment has deepened rifts within the Texas Republican Party, with backers of Mr. Paxton, including Mr. Trump, attacking those who supported the prosecution as insufficiently conservative.

This is MAGA eating the GOP. Think of the image of an eclipse eating the moon and you’ve got it. Mitt Romney, who is being characterized by some as “the last Republican” walked away from all this a few days ago. This trial has been framed, primarily by Paxton himself, in culture war terms, as being brought by “RINOS and Democrats,” and “far-left radicals” establishing “a kangaroo court in the Texas Legislature to eliminate America’s most conservative attorney general.”

And listen to this exchange. This sounds like something out of the McCarthy witch hunt in the 50’s, except now the label “Democrat” is being used in lieu of “Communist.” And that’s the MAGA hype, that the Democrats are commies and un-American. No. These fascist MAGAs are un-American. People were actually on the witness stand, denying they were RINOs or had ever voted for a Democrat, in order to not identify with “the enemy.”

In a nod to the politics looming in the background, the prosecutors also frequently sought to highlight the staunchly conservative backgrounds of the witnesses against Mr. Paxton.

Part of the reason for doing so is the nature of the jury pool: The voting senators included 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. But it also reflected efforts by the conservative wing of the party to attack the impeachment as a political plot put forward by lobbyists, RINOs — Republicans in name only — and Democrats in Austin.

“Are you a RINO?” Mr. Hardin asked the first witness in the case, a recurring question.

“No” was the universal answer.

“Have you ever voted for a Democrat in your life?” Mr. Hardin asked another witness, Mark Penley, a former deputy attorney general for criminal justice.

“No,” Mr. Penley replied.

Mr. Paxton’s lawyers tried to create the impression that politicians like him, a supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, were under attack by moderate Republicans. They named well-known lobbyists, donors and consultants as well as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a conservative policy organization that has been powerful in Austin, as instigators.

“Have you ever voted for a Democrat in your life?” “Have you ever attended a meeting of the Communist Party?”

Here’s another nutty exchange.

“You were staging a coup, weren’t you?” said one of the defense lawyers, Tony Buzbee, in cross-examining Mr. Paxton’s former top aide, Jeff Mateer.

“Absolutely not,” Mr. Mateer said.

This demonstrates that whistle-blowers, showing what a crook Paxton is, were merely political enemies looking to do a coup d’etat — at least that’s Paxton’s characterization.

The trial ended with Dan Patrick announcing that Paxton returns to work. Before Patrick gaveled the trial out, he castigated the Texas House, accusing them of “triple hearsay that would not be allowed in court.” Patrick also wants to amend the Texas Constitution, in order to achieve “accountability.” Relations between the Texas House and Senate were frosty before, look for an arctic freeze going forward.

As to the larger picture, this is just one more example of how most Republicans are stuck like flies in amber and they will go along with whatever a few movers and shakers tell them to do. This is the foreshadowing of worse things to come. The Republican party is dead. This is what’s rising from the ashes, authoritarianism.


Help keep the site running, consider supporting.


  1. I felt all along that this impeachment is a microcosm of the nation overall. Paxton’s reactions to the charges were a page out of Trump’s playbook and apparently the Texas senate is a mirror image of the national senate. God help us.

  2. Foreshadowing of things to come. I wonder when the majority of us will realize we are in the fight of our lives to remain free of criminals who are willing to do ANYTHING to remain in power?

  3. My question is just exactly they expected to accomplish whit this farce of an impeachment? I new from the get go that this was going to happen. They are after all REPUBLICANS!!!!

  4. Thinking back to the impeachments, (2), of 4-times indicted Trump, after ALL the House crew found in the dirty White House team of Trump and his rag-tag round table of enablers and strict, “YES” people, or else …

    His recorded voice on call to the Ukraine President to deliver an obvious threat to withhold US materials from delivery unless he delivered crap on the Biden family, his shite is ALWAYS obvious, the team of McConnell, Grassley and others kicked Trump back into full speed ahead in the Senate, and even repeated the offensive action a second time, SO NOW, the Republicans are supporting a twice impeached, 4 time-indicted, maybe another time indicted, A_Hole, that is having trouble speaking in complete, meaningful sentences …

    How COULD this happen in our Country? I guess that the coming super-fail of Trump’s health, will spell a tattered, collapsed GOP with NO PLANS, NO LEADING CANDITATE —
    NOTHING AT ALL, but self-destructing finger pointing and make-believe Republican patriots, that in fact, have sabotaged the Congress’s progress for way-too-long …

    The blithering super-stupid, sweating-hog in the corner is all that remains of such a glib and wonderful grifter that has fooled thousands of Maga-red hats …

    Something tells me his showing NO FEAR of prison is going to be proven WRONG in the most disastrous collapse in Court ever seen before …

  5. Since it was Republicans in the Texas House that led the effort to impeach him I thought there was a chance (not a great one but not small either) enough GOPers on the Senate side would go along and dump this guy who’d made them all look bad. There’s plenty more a-holes like him after all. However, once the deal was struck to keep Paxton’s MISTRESS from having to testify I knew this was how it would turn out. Even with all the evidence too many TX State Senators were making it known they wouldn’t vote to convict, and relations between their chamber and the other are already contentious. If the House impeachment managers had forced that testimony (remember, Paxton’s wife is a TX State Senator herself) and added that level of embarrassment what’s already ugly in the GOP down there would get far worse. But, as you say the point is that just as with most Senate Republicans with Trump – it didn’t matter HOW much solid evidence there was – it simply didn’t matter.

    Now, had a DEMOCRAT done even one of these things those same GOPers who refused to convict Paxton would have that Democrat hauled to the well of their chamber and their votes to convict would be fist sized stones hurled at him/her! But, as the old expression over on DK that used to get used goes IOKIYAR. (It’s Okay If You’re A Republican”)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The maximum upload file size: 128 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here