AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Impeached Attorney General Ken Paxton on Saturday refuted rumors that he may resign before his impeachment trial begins early next month — but the House team leading the effort to remove him from office says the trial will proceed regardless.
“Wrong! I will never stop fighting for the people of Texas and defending our conservative values,” Paxton wrote on social media in response to reports he may resign. It’s a rare on-the-record statement from the suspended Attorney General, who is barred from speaking publicly about his looming trial.
Paxton’s counsel also denied the idea.
“Whomever is saying that must be talking to a different Ken Paxton than I am,” said defense attorney Dan Cogdell to Nexstar.
The rumors come after Paxton’s name led the list of witnesses whom the House impeachment managers intend to call to testify during trial, The Dallas Morning News reported this week. Paxton faces several felony indictments and federal investigations for charges tangential to his impeachment charges, which will play out after his impeachment trial.
Yet, regardless of Paxton’s status, House prosecutors say the trial will go on.
“The House managers intend to fulfill their Constitutional duty and proceed with an impeachment trial,” a source close to House impeachment managers told Nexstar. “Resignation does not prevent a trial. The Constitution is clear that a Senate trial is required after the House has voted to impeach.”
The Texas Constitution states an Attorney General’s impeachment “shall be tried by the Senate.”
The nearest precedent for this historic impeachment of a statewide official is nearly 100 years prior in 1924. In Governor James “Pa” Ferguson’s impeachment, Ferguson did resign from office, but only after the Senate had convicted him. His resignation came one day before the Senate planned to remove him from office.
There is no precedent for a statewide official resigning before the trial convenes.
Paxton will face a trial in the Senate beginning on Sep. 5. He will be removed from office if two-thirds of the Texas Senate finds him guilty on any of the articles of impeachment.