Let us play a brief game of “what if … ” involving the Texas Senate and the pending trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
I will admit readily that this game is the longest of long shots imaginable, but I cannot get past a historical precedent that could — possibly — portend a similar outcome for the embattled AG.
Let us recall what happened to President Richard Nixon when, in 1974, he was facing impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. The House was set to impeach the president on obstruction of justice over the Watergate scandal.
Then a group of Republican senators went to the White House. They included Sens. Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, Bob Dole and other heavyweights. They told Nixon that the jig was up. He would be convicted by the Senate once a trial concluded. They urged him to resign.
So … the president quit.
Fast-forward to the here and now and we have a Texas attorney general already impeached by the state House. The vote was overwhelming. He has been accused in a 20-count impeachment document.
Is it possible that word can leak out prior to the start of a Senate trial that Paxton doesn’t have the votes to survive, in the manner that President Nixon faced in the summer of 1974?
What might the AG do? He doesn’t want to be the first attorney general ever tossed out of office. Plus — and this is critical — he would lose his state pension were he to be convicted and booted out of office; if he quits, he can keep his pension.
I am not concerned about the pension and whether he would keep it. My priority is to get this clown removed from office. He has disgraced the attorney general’s office almost since he became AG in 2015.
My hope, too, is 20 senators of both parties — which is what is required to convict him — are fed up enough to boot him out of office.
If the AG quits prior to the start of a trial, then the state will win no matter what were to happen in a trial.