Trump defends suspended attorney general Ken Paxton and calls impeachment trial ‘shameful’

Suspended Texas attorney general Ken Paxton can count on a certain former president who faced two impeachment trials to stand beside him as proceedings in his own impeachment trial unfold.

Donald Trump gave Mr Paxton a boost of confidence in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, on Thursday morning calling him “one of the TOUGHEST & BEST” attorney generals.

Mr Trump’s words of affirmation mark the first time he has spoken about the trial of his longtime ally since it began on 5 September – though the ex-president issued a statement of support earlier this year when Mr Paxton was first impeached.

In Thursday’s post, Mr Trump accused Republicans in Texas of being “RINOS” (Republican in name only) in their decision to bring 16 articles of impeachment against Mr Paxton.

“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was easily re-elected last November, but now establishment RINOS are trying to undo that Election with a shameful impeachment of him,” Mr Trump wrote.

Much like Mr Trump’s own impeachments and current criminal indictments, the ex-president claimed the allegations against Mr Paxton were politically motivated in order to remove him from office.

Mr Paxton was impeached in May based on accusations, brought forth by his former staffers, of abusing his power to benefit himself and a Texas real estate investor who is accused of helping Mr Paxton engage in an extramarital affair and paying for his home renovations.

He is currently facing 16 articles of impeachment related to the whistleblower complaint including bribery, making false statements, misappropriation of public resources and more. Mr Paxton has denied all of the allegations so far.

Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton reads a statement at his office in Austin, Texas, Friday, May 26, 2023 (AP)
Texas state Attorney General Ken Paxton reads a statement at his office in Austin, Texas, Friday, May 26, 2023 (AP)

Despite the Republican-controlled House voting to progress the impeachment trial to the Senate – Mr Trump and other Trump-aligned politicians have cast doubt over the authenticity of the impeachment.

In May, Texas Senator Ted Cruz referred to those who voted in favor of impeaching Mr Paxton as “the swamp in Austin” working on behalf of President Joe Biden.