🇺🇸 Texas Turmoil
Plus, "I'm lost, who dis?"
Good morning, and happy Wednesday. A Nebraska truck driver officially logged five million miles on the road — only the second person in his company’s 67-year history to earn the achievement — without a single accident!
Plus, a hiker who was lost in the wilderness of Colorado’s Mount Elbert ignored several phone-call attempts from rescue teams because they came from an unknown number…
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On Tuesday, the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton began and hurtled Republicans into a reckoning over whether to oust a prominent member of their party after years of alleged corruption or stand with one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest defenders.
Reporting from the Right: Republicans Brace For Intra-Party Showdown As AG’s Impeachment Trial Set To Begin (Daily Caller)
Reporting from the Left: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton pleads not guilty to impeachment charges (CNN)
From The Flag: The historic trial — the first impeachment proceedings in Texas in nearly a half-century — is the gravest threat to date for Paxton after spending nearly his entire three terms in office under felony indictment and FBI investigation. In an era of strong partisanship across America, the trial is a rare instance of a political party seeking to hold one of its own to account for allegations of wrongdoing. Here’s what both sides are saying.
Mixed: This is a Sham vs. Paxton Is Likely to Get What’s Coming to Him
Paxton and his attorney’s defense hinges on a shaky “forgiveness doctrine”, which is unlikely to hold much weight or relevance.
“To the dismay of the RINO establishment in Texas, their campaign to besmirch Paxton has not diminished his popular support.”
This will test the will of Republican senators to punish not only one of their own, but a hard-right firebrand who has driven the state’s policymaking for years.
The End Is Near for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Karl Rove, The Wall Street Journal: “The impeachment itself is void, his attorneys argue, because of a statute that bars impeachment for conduct occurring ‘before the officer’s most recent election, and those allegations were public before voters cast their ballots.’ … But the Texas Supreme Court has held in three cases, including Matter of Carillo (1976), that this so-called forgiveness doctrine doesn’t apply when a ‘proceeding for removal is authorized by the [Texas] Constitution.’ It is so authorized for several top officers, including the attorney general. Mr. Paxton’s forgiveness-doctrine defense is factually wrong as well. While some of this sprawling scandal was public before the election, lots of new allegations have turned up since then. In June a federal grand jury indicted Mr. Paul on eight counts of making false statements to banks—the shenanigans for which Mr. Paxton allegedly provided ‘favorable legal assistance’ to erase Mr. Paul’s financial problems.”
The Establishment’s Paxton Impeachment Sham Undermines The Will Of Texas Voters Mark Pulliam, The Federalist: “The rationale, in the words of the Texas Supreme Court, is that ‘the public, as the ultimate judge and jury in a democratic society, can choose to forgive the misconduct of an elected official if the public knows about such misconduct prior to the election.’ To the dismay of the RINO establishment in Texas, their campaign to besmirch Paxton has not diminished his popular support. The voters selected him despite extensive public airing of various allegations about him. As Americans witnessed during the presidency of Donald Trump, impeachment is the last resort of frustrated political opponents unable to get their way through the democratic political process. In Texas, as in the nation’s capital, impeachment is just another form of lawfare. Convicting Paxton would bar him from holding public office in the future — precisely the establishment’s goal, contrary to the voters’ mandate. Such a result would be tantamount to a banana republic coup unworthy of the Lone Star State.”
One more opinion piece from the Right: Ken Paxton impeachment trial proceeds as GOP-controlled state Senate refuses to dismiss charges Anna Giartelli, Washington Examiner
The Future of the Republican Party Is at Play
The effort to help the Texas attorney general is part of an ongoing struggle over the Republican Party’s future.
Republican leaders across Texas are being pulled into the fray, with reports of threats of political consequences coming from Paxton.
The trial is rife with conflicts of interest, as Paxton’s wife serves in the state’s senate and many other senators have previously served with Paxton and have existing relationships with him.
A Conservative Push to Save Ken Paxton J. David Goodman, The New York Times: “With television ads and text messages, direct mail and billboards, supporters of the embattled Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, have embarked on an escalating campaign of political pressure, backed by hard-right billionaires, aimed at trying to sway the outcome of Mr. Paxton’s upcoming impeachment trial. The targets of their efforts are narrow: the 19 Republican members of the State Senate who will act as jurors in the trial… But the effort to save Mr. Paxton, who is seen by many hard-core conservatives as their legal standard-bearer, is also the latest proxy in the broader fight over the future direction of the party, both in Texas and nationally. It has drawn in a range of conservative figures on both sides, with Rick Perry, the former Texas governor, and Karl Rove, the political consultant to former President George W. Bush, arguing in support of the impeachment process, and Steve Bannon, the former Trump political adviser, lampooning it as a Democrat-inspired witch hunt.
Texas GOP lawmakers facing 'fallout' over Ken Paxton impeachment David McAfee, Raw Story: “The impeachment trial for embattled Texas A.G. Ken Paxton is pending, but fellow Republicans in the state are already being hit with political shrapnel… Republican leaders and lawmakers throughout the state of Texas are being wrapped up in the impeachment drama, with Paxton supporters reportedly targeting those who might vote to impeach him. … Paxton has also personally called his fellow lawmakers to threaten them with political consequences if they vote to impeach, according to CBS. ‘When House members first heard details of the 20 articles of impeachment against Attorney General Paxton, Republican Texas Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth dropped a bombshell: 'I would like to point out that several members of this House while on the floor of the House doing state business, received telephone calls from [Attorney] General Paxton personally threatening them with political consequences in their next election.'’ the outlet reported Saturday.”
One more opinion piece from the Left: What to know about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment trial Eric Bradner and Ashley Killough, CNN
Texas GOP Backs Paxton; Rest of Texas, Less So.
Last week, before the impeachment trial began, Texas Republicans overwhelmingly indicated they don’t support the impeachment trial against Ken Paxton.
Just 28% of Republican respondents agreed that the charges were warranted, compared to 42% of independents and three-quarters of Democrats, according to a University of Texas Politics Project poll.
Paxton’s approval dropped to 27% among all voters, the lowest in two years. But among Republicans, it remained 46% (The Texas Tribune).
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Little Willie, Eye of The Storm, Largest Animal Ever
Little Willie pictures with its rear steering wheels.
On This Day in 1915: A prototype tank nicknamed Little Willie rolls off the assembly line in England. Little Willie was far from an overnight success. It weighed 14 tons, got stuck in trenches, and crawled over rough terrain at only two miles per hour. However, improvements were made to the original prototype and tanks eventually transformed military battlefields.
Today I learned that not only is the blue whale the largest animal on Earth. It is the largest animal to have ever existed on Earth, growing up to 100 feet long and weighing up to 200 tons.