Attorney General Ken Paxton dismissed rumors over the weekend that he will resign prior to his impeachment trial next week.
On Saturday, Scott Braddock, editor of the legislative website Quorum Report, a Texas political newsletter and website, posted on social media that he had heard “credible chatter” that Paxton might resign to avoid testifying, adding that he may have been warned by Lt. Gov Dan Patrick that the trial “won’t go well for him in the Texas Senate.”
“Wrong! I will never stop fighting for the people of Texas and defending our conservative values,” Paxton wrote back in a rare public comment on the impeachment on X, formerly known as Twitter.
I saw the tweet over the weekend, which was picked up by Reform Austin and other news outlets. Scott Braddock was clear that he was passing along what he was hearing and not confirmed news; conservative talk radio host Chad Hasty said he was hearing the same thing. There was also chatter last week that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was going to step down. That didn’t happen, either. It’s “people are saying” stuff, which can mean it’s really about to happen or that there’s nothing much happening so people are just talking to pass the time.
The reason this is at least plausible is that it’s easy to imagine a back-room deal in which Paxton resigns in return for the impeachment trial going away. As also noted by Scott Braddock, getting convicted in the Senate means losing his generous state pension. That’s a risk many people would consider mitigating, especially since they’d still be in good standing with most of the people they would want to be such standing afterwards. Maybe there were some preliminary talks along these lines, or at least some speculative talk from one side or the other, which eventually went nowhere but now needed to be denied. We’ll never know for sure. But it was fun while it lasted. And we’re now a week out from the beginning of the trial.