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Paxton Impeachment Trial: Day 1 Review
Anemic showing, lackluster day.
The Senate trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton began yesterday. We were on site to cover the happenings, and it was a rather lackluster day.
For reference, the Texas House Committee on General Investigating brought 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton.
The accusations included bribery, dereliction of duty, disregard of official duty and unfitness for office. State Rep. Andrew Murr (R), who leads the bipartisan committee, said at the time that the articles of impeachment reflected Paxton’s “grave offenses” before and during his time in office.
We live posted the first day, if you aren’t following us on X/Twitter, you should!
A limited number of tickets were available for attendees in anticipation of a huge turnout. Less than half of the 300 available were used (more on that later).
Every motion to dismiss by the Paxton team failed to secure enough votes. The one motion that did pass successfully prevented Paxton from being compelled to testify. Several of the pro-Paxton supporters around us were initially upset about this, but after realizing this motion was positive for Paxton, their feelings reversed.
Paxton pleaded not guilty to all charges, and six witnesses were brought forward for swearing-in.
Related to the anemic attendance, we were told multiple times that a “bus full” of pro-Paxton supporters were going to show up in the afternoon. They never appeared.
Ken Paxton was also MIA after lunch, not returning for the remainder of the day.
Both sides were given an hour for opening remarks. Rep. Andrew Murr from the House Impeachment Managers gave his opening remarks that ended early and were also rather unremarkable.
Paxton’s defense took the entire hour, giving a very passionate defense in their opening remarks, which felt more convincing than Rep. Murr’s statement.
Paxton’s lawyer, Tony Buzbee, at one point did mention that social media was filled with “uninformed commentators” that attacked Paxton. This felt disingenuous considering it was pro-Paxton groups that explicitly paid political celebrities and commentators to tweet out defenses for Paxton on social media.
If you want to read our thread on the astroturfed, paid, pro-Paxton tweets, you can check them out here.
House Impeachment Managers then brought out their first witness, Jeff Mateer, and it was all incredibly boring and unconvincing. Mateer is the former First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, and an absurd amount of time was spent discussing his personal political views, seemingly to convince the Senate that he wasn’t a “RINO.” Many of the people around us felt that this witness added nothing of substance.
Eventually Buzbee objected to some exhibits, everyone was confused, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick adjourned for the rest of the day.
The lack of attendance was probably the most interesting point of the day, considering the seemingly large amount of outrage regarding the impeachment process.
Sarah Fields of The Publica, noticed none of the people who were paid to defend Paxton online were in attendance.
It’s interesting considering pro-Paxton groups promised caravans of pro-Paxton activists from all around the state would be in attendance.
Unfortunately, we counted less than 15 organized activists in attendance.
Groups should avoid paying for fake interactions and political outrage because the whole narrative falls apart once people are expected to show up in person (or at the polls) as seen in the photo above.
The impeachment trial is estimated to last into October.
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