The Texas House of Representatives has voted to begin impeachment proceedings against state Attorney General Ken Paxton on charges of bribery, abuse of the public trust and inability to hold office, among others.
Paxton, close to former President Donald Trump, has been under FBI investigation for several years for allegedly using his office to help a donor and is accused of fraud, a crime for which he has not yet been tried.
The state House of Representatives, led by the Republican Party itself, has begun debate to decide whether to impeach Paxton and therefore suspend him from office.
By 121 votes in favor and only 23 against, the majority of the House has voted in favor of starting an impeachment trial against the prosecutor, who has been temporarily suspended from his duties, as required by state law.
The vote required only a simple majority in the House, which is made up of 85 Republican and 64 Democratic representatives. After that, the decision moves to the Texas Senate.
Paxton has been one of the Republican Party's most prominent legal fighters and in 2020 was one of those who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Joe Biden's election victory over Trump.
Through his social network Truth Social, the former president threatened on Saturday the Republicans who support the impeachment process. "Let's hope Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives agree that this is a very unfair process that should not be allowed to happen or continue," Trump wrote before the vote, saying he will fight Paxton.
After knowing the result of the vote, Paxton has published a statement on social networks in which he describes what happened as an "ugly spectacle" and a "scandalous impeachment plot", which "was never intended to be fair or equitable". "It was a politically motivated farce from the beginning," he said.
On Thursday, a Texas House committee recommended impeachment proceedings against Paxton after years of scandals and corruption allegations. With a unanimous vote, members of the Republican Texas House General Investigations Committee took the unprecedented step, which may end with the removal of the attorney general, re-elected last November for his third term.
Known in English as "impeachment", impeachment is a process by which the integrity or capacity of someone who holds public office is questioned. Only two officials in Texas' nearly 200-year history have been impeached, a governor in 1917 and a district judge in 1976.
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