OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Republican attorney general of Texas may have just survived the worst political moment of his career — an impeachment — but that doesn’t mean Ken Paxton is out of the woods just yet.
Paxton is back at work after the GOP-led Texas House voted to impeach him, but the Republican-controlled Senate failed to reach even a majority of members to convict, let alone a super-majority of 21 out of 30 members.
However, now Paxton will likely face the wrath of what most conservatives see as President Joe Biden’s increasingly politicized Justice Department.
In an interview with podcaster and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, conservative activist Luke Macias was asked if he believes Paxton will be hit with a federal indictment.
“I think they will,” Macia said.
“I think they absolutely intend to do so,” Macias said. “I think we will likely see that happen.
“I will be surprised if the feds don’t take action against Ken Paxton and try to indict him with a federal grand jury before the end of the year,” he added.
Federal officials may be pursuing allegations by an alleged whistleblower who claimed that Paxton and Nate Paul, a donor, inappropriately aided each other.
The Western Journal added:
Bannon traced bad blood between Paxton and the Biden administration to Paxton’s filing of a U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit on behalf of Texas which challenged 2020 election results.
The suit –– Texas v. Pennsylvania — claimed Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania made improper election law changes in 2020 but the Supreme Court jettisoned the case, ruling Texas did not have standing.
And now, it appears as though the administration isn’t going to let Paxton’s acquittal slide.
“The FBI and the U.S. attorney would be derelict in their duty” if they refused to look into the allegations against Paxton, said former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins, who is now a defense attorney specializing in white-collar crimes.
As reported by NBC-DFW, Coggins said that federal officials merely watched the impeachment proceedings and used them to develop a strategy.
“It’s really free discovery for the Government. The government can sit back and watch who takes the stand, how they do on the stand, how they hold up to cross-examination. Wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of possibility that the FBI has learned some things from this,” he told the NBC outlet.
“I think they’re going to take a look and say, do we have the goods? Do we have the evidence and is a jury more likely or not to convict?” Coggins said. “Whether he’s sitting attorney general or not I think that analysis will be run. There’s been cases, as you know, brought against senators, against governors. Now we have the former President.”
“There’s a fair amount of case law built up,” he added.
That said, a key accuser made a stunning admission during Paxton’s impeachment trial.
On the trial’s third day, “a former deputy attorney general who was fired for insubordination, and who later sued claiming wrongful termination, said he and other former staffers had no evidence to support their claim that Paxton allegedly committed a crime,” Just the News reported.
The 20 articles of impeachment, presented by the House General Investigating Committee, are founded on testimonies given by three witnesses, among others, during the ongoing impeachment trial. The charges encompass accusations of bribery, abuse of public trust, and being unfit for office, among other allegations. Four articles have been temporarily withheld.
On September 30, 2020, before either being terminated or resigning, former OAG personnel lodged a complaint with the FBI, suggesting that Paxton might have been involved in a potential criminal act related to Austin real estate developer Paul.
During the proceedings, one of the dismissed employees, former deputy attorney general for legal counsel Ryan Vassar, provided testimony stating that he and his colleagues lacked any evidence to substantiate the complaint they submitted to the FBI.
The admission was made during cross-examination by Mitch Little, one of Paxton’s attorneys.
“Did you tell the FBI that Attorney General Paxton had legally disclosed confidential material to someone, yes or no?” Little asked.
“I disagree with the phrasing of the question,” Vassar replied. “We alleged illegal activity could occur.”
“But you didn’t know that Paxton had disclosed anything to anyone?” Little asked.
“No,” Vassar responded.
“You were hoping the FBI would sort it out,” Little went on.
“We had formed a belief in good faith that the attorney general was engaged in illegal activity,” Vassar said.
“But you didn’t know,” Little noted further.
“That’s the point. We had no evidence that we could point to but had reasonable conclusions that we could draw,” Vassar responded.