Austin — The Texas House General Investigating Committee has voted unanimously to send to the full Texas House articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The House will next decide whether to approve the articles against Paxton, which could lead to the attorney general’s removal from office pending the outcome of a trial to be conducted by the Senate.
If a majority of the 149-member House approves the articles before the regular legislative session ends Monday, senators would need to convene a special session to hear the case. It would take only a simple majority to impeach and remove Paxton.
No Legislature has impeached an attorney general, an extraordinary step that lawmakers have historically reserved for public officials who faced serious allegations that they have abused their powers.
The news comes one day after investigators for the committee testified about what they call years of illegal actions, including felonies like abuse of office, and misconduct by Paxton.
The committee convened late Thursday afternoon, only to immediately go into executive session behind closed doors. Moments afterward, Chris Hilton, the litigation chief from Paxton’s office, attempted to register as a witness to the investigation, which was not allowed.
Outside the room, Hilton discredited the committee to reporters, saying they were not trustworthy and had not attempted to get accurate information from Paxton. After speaking with reporters for a few minutes, another official from Paxton’s office pulled Hilton away and went behind closed doors, refusing to answer reporters’ questions. Before they left, they said they would later share more.
Several Department of Public Services troopers were stationed outside of the hearing room.
Paxton on Tuesday called for the resignation of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan of Beaumont, alleging he was drunk last Friday during a long session.
Phelan supporters and staff say it was a marathon 16 hour session and he was tired.
With reporting from CBS Austin and The Texas Tribune