Former President Trump weighed in on the historic impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton brought by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
The message from Trump, the only federal official to ever be impeached twice, came as Paxton's attorneys were set to begin presenting their defense Thursday as the trial that will determine whether the Republican is removed from office winds down.
"Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was easily re-elected last November, but now establishment RINOS are trying to undo that Election with a shameful impeachment of him," Trump wrote on TRUTH Social early Thursday. "Who would replace Paxton, one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country? Could it be a Democrat, or even worse, a RINO? The voters have decided who they want! Democrats are feeling very good right now as they watch, as usual, the Republicans fight & eat away at each other. It’s a SAD day in the Great State of Texas!"
Attorneys for the bipartisan group of lawmakers prosecuting Paxton’s impeachment rested their case Wednesday after a woman who was expected to testify about an extramarital affair with Paxton made a sudden appearance at the trial, but she never took the stand.
The affair is central to the proceedings and accusations that Paxton misused his power to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, who was under FBI investigation and employed the woman, Laura Olson. One of the articles of impeachment against Paxton alleges that Paul's hiring of Olson amounted to a bribe.
Olson was called to the stand Wednesday morning in the Texas Senate and waited outside the chamber. However, her testimony was delayed for hours before Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is acting as the trial’s judge, said toward the end of the day that Olson would not testify after all. He provided no further explanation but said both sides had agreed to it.
"She is present but has been deemed unavailable to testify," Patrick said.
Olson had been set to take the stand across from Paxton’s wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, who is required to attend the trial but is not allowed to vote on whether her husband should be removed from office.
Shortly after the announcement, prosecuting attorney Rusty Hardin said he was resting their side of the case. Paxton attorney Tony Buzbee then moved to end the trial on the grounds of insufficient evidence but later withdrew the request without a vote shorty before the trial adjourned for the day.
Paxton, who was suspended from office pending the trial's outcome, is not required to attend the proceedings and has not appeared in the Senate since testimony began last week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.