HOUSTON — After two days of waiting, a special state Senate committee on Wednesday adopted the rules of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial.
The rules resolution was passed by a 25-3 vote. Among those voting against the adoption of the rules were senators Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin), Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), and Paxton's wife, Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), according to The Texas Tribune.
The resolution included 31 rules, including one excluding Sen. Angela Paxton from voting on "any matter, motion, or question" in the trial and from participating in closed deliberations.
Additionally, a gag order is in place preventing senators from discussing the proceedings with anyone outside the court.
They also adopted a resolution to notify Ken Paxton that the trial will start at 9 a.m. on Sept. 5, despite the House calling for it to start before Aug. 28. The resolution requires him to be present along with his counsel.
Read the full rules the Senate adopted:
After the rules were adopted, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following statement:
“After 2 days of thoughtful deliberation, the Texas Senate has adopted rules for the impeachment trial of Attorney General Paxton. The Senate will perform its duty per the Texas Constitution.”
The chairman of the Texas House General Investigating Committee, Andrew Murr, issued a statement about the Senate adopting the rules:
"The rules-adoption process demonstrated that the Texas Senate respects the seriousness of this matter and the importance of a fair impeachment trial."
High-profile Houston attorneys Dick DeGuerin and Rusty Hardin, who are presenting the House's case against the attorney general, also issued a statement.
"The rules the Senate has propounded for the impeachment trial of Attorney General Kenneth Paxton provide a fair trial for both sides. We thank the Senate for their diligence and hard work, and we look forward to presenting our case."
Angela Paxton on Thursday commented on her vote against adopting the rules:
“Last night, I voted against the rules that will govern the impeachment proceedings in the Texas Senate. These rules state that I am ineligible to vote on any matter, motion, or question before the Court, or to participate in deliberations. These same rules prohibit me from saying more about the proceedings. As I said earlier this week, I hold my constitutional obligations sacred, and my understanding of those obligations has not changed. I will continue to do everything in my power to be a voice for the people of SD 8 in the Texas Senate.”
The Senate adjourned until Friday after adopting the resolutions.
What we know
In May, the Texas House of Representatives voted 121-23 to impeach Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on 20 counts, alleging a pattern of misconduct and abuse of power. The vote immediately led to Ken Paxton's temporary suspension from office, pending the outcome of the impeachment trial.
A committee consisting of five Republicans and two Democrats had been drafting the rules for the impeachment trial.
State senators will act as the jury in the trial while 12 state representatives will act as prosecutors.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will serve as the judge in the trial.
To permanently remove Paxton from office, two-thirds of Senators must vote for it.