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Paxton Impeachment - Day One Breakdown
Here's what you missed on day one of the Paxton Impeachment Trial.
Today was day one of the Impeachment of Ken Paxton. The Senate mainly dealt with housekeeping issues. Toward the end of the day, we finally heard from one witness. The day started with each Senator (except for Angela Paxton) being sworn in, one by one. It was a little absurd because they could have stood and been sworn in together, but Lt Governor Dan Patrick wanted everyone to swear on Sam Houston’s bible in the front of the room.
The legend is that “Sam Houston’s bible” belonged to the forefather of Texas. However, in recent years, it’s been suggested that the bible did not actually belong to Sam Houston. So, it’s possible that the Senators were just sworn in on an old bible that didn’t belong to anyone special.
Next, they had to address all of the pre-trial motions that Ken Paxton’s team filed, and there were a lot. There were 24 total pre-trial motions ranging from quashing the articles of impeachment, dismissing most of them, or dismissing each article one by one.
Of those motions, all Democrats and seven Republicans voted against every single one. Those GOP members included Flores, Hancock, Huffman, King, Middleton, Nichols, and Springer.
Is there still some integrity left in the Republican Party?
Sure. That’s why we have Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger (as horrendous as their policy positions are). They still have respect for the rule of law. But whether that was why those seven voted against the 24 motions remains to be seen.
On every pre-trial motion filed by Paxton’s team, six Senators steadily voted ‘aye.’ Those Senators were Kolkhorst, Creighton, Hall, Parker, Campbell, and Bettencourt. The six were ready to dismiss all the impeachment charges without hearing the evidence or going to trial. We can only speculate their motives, but whatever they are, we can all agree that these six Senators are okay with the AG of Texas being corrupt.
Aside from them, five others occasionally voted in favor of Paxton’s motions to dismiss. Those Senators were Birdwell, Hughes, Schwertner, Sparks, and Perry. Does that mean that they’re only a little okay with corruption?
After that, Dan Patrick went over some of the rules. Each party has one hour for opening, one hour for rebuttal, and one hour for closing. On top of that, each side has 24-hours for evidence presentation and witnesses. The Senate trial will commence from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday - Friday, until it’s finished. Patrick said they may meet on some Saturdays, but not this Saturday.
Then, they finally read Paxton the articles of impeachment. He pleaded “not guilty” to all of them.
After the Senate Clerk, Patsy Spaw, read each article of impeachment, instead of simply saying, “Paxton pleads not guilty,” his attorney, Tony Buzbee, obnoxiously would say, “That’s not true, so my client pleads not guilty,” or “that’s categorically false, so obviously my client pleads not guilty. This went on for a while before the side of the Impeachment Managers finally objected, stating we didn’t need a speech with each plea. Lt Governor Patrick sustained the objection.
During this time, online was abuzz with Tony Buzbee’s orangish hue.
His spray tan vastly resembled the orange one we all know well, Mango Mussolini. The internet had quite a few laughs over it.
After that, the court (impeachment court) swore in the witnesses who were there and broke for lunch. When they came back from lunch, Ken Paxton was noticeably absent.
Paxton decided he didn’t want to stick around for his own impeachment trial. He ultimately left the building. His attorneys say he was required to show up to enter a plea for each of the articles of impeachment. He did. And then he left. That didn't sit well with those on the other side.
It’s only his career on the line, but for some reason, he didn’t think it was important enough to stay. What could he have to do that was more important than his own impeachment trial?
Finally, the Impeachment Managers made their opening statement. They chose Andrew Murr for that, and he made a very impactful speech.
Some of my favorite moments from Murr’s opening statement included:
Mr. Paxton has been entrusted with great power. Unfortunately, rather than rise to the occasion, he has revealed his character. He is not fit to be the Attorney General of the State of Texas.
For the whistleblowers, the choice to report Paxton was “one of the hardest of their lives — but they will tell you there wasn’t really a choice at all.
I was raised in rural Texas, where a person's honor is more important than money.
Murr even invoked his grandfather. For those of y’all who don’t know, Andrew Murr's grandfather was Coke Stevenson, the 35th Governor of Texas.
Paxton’s side responded embarrassingly.
Buzzbee called Dade Phelan drunk multiple times. He spoke about the Bush dynasty and how George P. Bush just renewed his law license. His opening statement was more like Breitbart exerts than a serious legal or political argument.
Then, Paxton’s other attorney took the floor. He started okay, even mentioning his sick wife, and cried for sympathy, but after about fifteen minutes into his opening statement, he was rambling and talking in circles. It was hard to tell what point he was getting at.
Then, it was time for the very first witness, Jeff Mateer. Impeachment Manager attorney Rusty Hardin handled him masterfully. He spent the first 30 minutes talking about just how Conservative Mateer was. And, woo boy, he’s so Conservative that Trump nominated him for a federal judge, but he couldn’t get confirmed because of his bigoted anti-trans record. He also used to work for the Federalist Society.
The point Hardin was driving in was how Mateer was nowhere near the RINO or liberal Republican that Paxton’s side had painted all of the impeachment witnesses out to be.
After establishing how Conservative this witness is, they started talking about Nate Paul and his relationship with Ken Paxton. What was laughable about this process is it seems that Paxton’s side plans to label any emails that came from the Attorney General’s office as “attorney privilege.” Including all of the emails implicating Paxton in a possible primary scheme. If it came from the AG’s office, it’s privileged and can’t be used as evidence, no matter how mundane it is.
Hardin mentioned how ridiculous that was, and it is. Then, near the end of the testimony, Paxton’s side objected to their own exhibit, which they submitted. Hardin was laughing so hard he had to apologize.
They argued for several minutes about whether they could use that document. That specific exchange is above, but I’ve also clipped the short version here:
After the 5-minute break they were supposed to take, which was more like 30 minutes, Dan Patrick decided to call it for the day because he wanted to decide on the privilege issue and then pick back up where they left off tomorrow.
Will Impeachment Managers be able to use internal documents related to Nate Paul and Ken Paxton’s corruption in the impeachment? Considering that this is what the entire case is about, it would be hard to understand why Patrick would rule against it unless he’s making use of that $3 million bribe from Tim Dunn. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.
It’s presumed that they’ll pick back up with Jeff Mateer’s testimony once the Senate resumes tomorrow morning. We’re in for another action-packed day tomorrow. Stay tuned.