What, me worry?

Ken Paxton? Sid Miller? Meh, no big deal.

Not Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott is steering clear of the legal problems swirling around two of his fellow Republican statewide officials, saying he does not know the facts of their cases and expressing little concern about their ability to serve.

Speaking Wednesday afternoon with reporters, Abbott kept his distance from both the securities fraud charges facing Attorney General Ken Paxton and questions about whether Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller misused public funds. Paxton was indicted by a Collin County grand jury last year and federal securities authorities last month, and Miller is under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Asked to characterize his level of concern with the legal problems — and whether he was concerned — Abbott said he did not know enough to answer.

“Because I don’t know the facts concerning any of the allegations against either of them, I have no basis to have concern,” Abbott said. “I think that’s up to the appropriate authorities to be involved with.”

Pressed on whether he still has confidence in Miller and Paxton, Abbott said his office works “virtually every day with the attorney general and his office, and that’s been a very effective working relationship.” He said through a spokesman last month that the allegations against Miller “warrant a thorough investigation.”

Asked earlier specifically about the Paxton saga, Abbott pointed to his past remarks on the case. His response was nonetheless his first public comment since Paxton, already facing state charges, was hit with a federal case from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I’ve said before that the person is innocent until proven guilty,” Abbott told reporters, bringing up the indictments against former Gov. Rick Perry that were ultimately dismissed. “We obviously saw what played out with regard to Gov. Perry.”

Let’s be clear about one thing here: Of course Greg Abbott has been fully briefed on the facts of both the Paxton and Miller cases. He’s the freaking Governor and nominal head of the state GOP. It would take Trumpian levels of incuriosity to not have been fully briefed, not to mention political malpractice of the first degree. I mean, if either or both of these guys go down, it will have an effect on Abbott – and everyone else on the 2018 ticket, if it happens before then – so just from a risk management perspective, he needs to know what he’s facing. I’m sure that what he’s really saying here is “It would be a bad idea for me to offer any opinions about these still-being-litigated-or-investigated cases, so I’m just going to pretend I know nothing about them and hope y’all will quit asking me these questions”. Which, honestly, is the wisest thing he could do. But it doesn’t mean we need to be fooled by it. Trail Blazers and Brian Sweany have more.

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