AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House of Representatives voted Saturday to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The final vote was 121-23 in favor of impeachment, with two members voting present and three absences.
The House met at 1 p.m. Saturday to begin the impeachment process that involved debates and questions from members.
Of the Texas Representatives who represent the Austin metro area, each of the eight Democrats voted in favor of impeachment, as did five Republicans. Republican Caroline Harris, who represents part of Williamson County, and Republican Carrie Isaac, who represents a portion of Hays County, both voted against impeachment.
Paxton now awaits a trial that will be held in the Senate.
The House's decision comes after the Republican-led investigative committee spent months quietly looking into Paxton over years of scandal, criminal charges and corruption accusations.
The committee began its investigation into Paxton back in February. Below is a timeline of its investigation:
Paxton released a statement shortly after the House's vote, calling the hearing "illegal, unethical, and profoundly unjust."
A day after the committee recommended impeachment articles, the Texas GOP released a statement about the investigation.
The Texas GOP stated, “Speaker Dade Phelan and his leadership team have appointed Democrats to high-ranking leadership positions, attacked the Republican Party of Texas, battled our conservative Lieutenant Governor, and killed Governor Abbott’s top priorities. The impeachment proceedings against the Attorney General are but the latest front in the Texas House’s war against Republicans to stop the conservative direction of our state.”
Later in the afternoon on Friday, Paxton called for a news conference regarding the motion to move forward with impeachment articles. During his conference, he stated, “the corrupt politicians in the Texas House are demonstrating that blind loyalty to House Speaker Dade Phelan is more important than upholding their oath of office.”
Paxton has been under FBI investigation for years over accusations that he used his office to help a donor and was separately indicted on securities fraud charges in 2015, though he has yet to stand trial. Until this week, his fellow Republicans have taken a muted stance on the allegations.
The impeachment has now teed up what could be a remarkably sudden downfall for one of the GOP’s most prominent legal combatants, who in 2020 asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Joe Biden's electoral defeat of President Donald Trump.
Prior to Saturday, only two officials in Texas’ nearly 200-year history had ever been impeached.
Paxton will now head to trial in the Senate. If the Senate votes to remove Paxton from office, Gov. Greg Abbott will appoint an interim Attorney General before a special election in 2024 to fill the remainder of Paxton's term.