Ken Paxton impeachment: What happens next?

It heads to a trial in the Senate, where his wife is a Senator.

AUSTIN, Texas — The historic impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton plunged Republicans on Sunday into a fight over whether to banish one of their own in America’s biggest red state after years of scandal and criminal accusations that will now be at the center of a trial in the state Senate.

Paxton said he has “full confidence” as he awaits judgement from the Senate, where his conservative allies include his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, who has not said whether she will recuse herself from the proceedings to determine whether her husband will be permanently removed from office.

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For now, Texas’ three-term attorney general is immediately suspended after the state House of Representatives on Saturday impeached Paxton on 20 articles that included bribery and abuse of public trust.

Impeachment trial in the Senate 

Impeachment in Texas is similar to the process on the federal level: After the House action, the Senate holds its trial.

It is yet to be scheduled.

The House needed just a simple majority of its 149 members to impeach Paxton, and the final 121-23 vote was a landslide. But the threshold for conviction in the Senate trial is higher, requiring a two-thirds majority of its 31 members.

If that happens, Paxton would be permanently barred from holding office in Texas. Anything less means Paxton is acquitted and can resume his third term as attorney general.

Paxton bitterly criticized the chamber’s investigation as “corrupt,” secret and conducted so quickly that he and his lawyers were not allowed to mount a defense. He also called Republican House Speaker Dade a “liberal.”

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