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House members call for Phelan resignation after Senate acquits Paxton

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In a dramatic turn of events, the Senate has voted to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton of all charges brought against him by the House General Investigating Committee.

This decision has prompted several members of the House who had previously voted against Paxton’s impeachment to call for the resignation of House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican representing Beaumont.

In an exclusive interview with The Center Square, Representative Steve Toth, a Republican from Spring, minced no words as he asserted that Speaker Phelan should apologize and step down.

Toth argued that Paxton’s acquittal isn’t merely an exoneration but a repudiation of the Texas House itself. He emphasized, “The Texas House owes not just Texas but the entire United States an apology for what they did.

This was so wrong. We were promised a mountain of evidence and numerous witnesses, but there was nothing. It’s a complete embarrassment for Texas, the Texas House, and the speaker. The speaker needs to resign.”

Toth and the Texas Republican Party were among the earliest to label the impeachment vote as illegal and a “sham.”

Representative Brian Harrison, hailing from Waxahachie, also joined the chorus calling for Phelan’s resignation.

In a comprehensive statement, he applauded the Senate for conducting a fair and transparent trial and for delivering a verdict that, according to him, was undeniably correct, given the glaring lack of evidence.

Harrison didn’t mince words either, saying, “The Texas House leadership, who misled and pressured Republicans to join a Democratic effort to overturn the election, has possibly irreparably disgraced itself and tarnished the reputation of the entire Texas House.

The staggering incompetence and dishonest conduct displayed by the House leadership and the General Investigating Committee must be condemned.”

Harrison criticized the House General Investigating Committee’s claims that Paxton had demonstrated a “shocking pattern of abuse and criminality,” stating that these assertions were either outright lies or a result of a biased pursuit against a political opponent.

House members call for Phelan resignation after Senate acquits Paxton
House members call for Phelan resignation after Senate acquits Paxton© Provided by Washington Examiner

Harrison’s call for Phelan’s resignation stemmed from the rushed impeachment vote, occurring within 48 hours of the House GIC releasing its findings, among other reasons he outlined.

In response, Speaker Phelan issued a statement, countering the Senate’s decision by arguing that the House had presented extensive evidence of Ken Paxton’s alleged corruption, deception, and self-dealing.

Phelan expressed disappointment, stating, “It is extremely unfortunate that the Texas Senate chose not to remove him from office.” He also accused Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presided over the trial, of bias.

Phelan’s response came after Patrick’s scathing rebuke of the House for bringing impeachment charges without sufficient evidence.

Patrick called for an audit of House expenditures to determine the taxpayer money “wasted” on the impeachment process, stressing the need for a constitutional amendment to codify impeachment procedures.

Phelan labeled Patrick’s remarks as a “tirade” that disrespected the constitutional impeachment process and accused Patrick and Republican senators of orchestrating the acquittal, cheating the people of Texas of justice.

Despite the Senate’s decision, Phelan remained steadfast in his belief that Paxton had abused his power and compromised his agency, pledging that if new facts emerged, those who allowed Paxton to retain his office would be held accountable.

In response to Phelan’s statement, Matt Rinaldi, Chair of the Republican Party of Texas, criticized Phelan for causing political damage to his own supporters, implying that change could only come through Phelan’s removal.

Dr. Steve Hotze, who heads the Conservative Republicans of Texas PAC, shared his disapproval of Phelan’s actions, especially the rush to bring impeachment charges against Paxton. Hotze predicted Phelan’s defeat in the upcoming 2024 Texas Republican Primary.

Paxton, who had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings, issued a statement after his acquittal.

He emphasized that “the truth prevailed” and condemned the impeachment as a politically motivated process orchestrated by the Biden Administration and Speaker Phelan.

Paxton vowed to resume his work defending constitutional rights now that the impeachment process was behind him.

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