Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Blasted the House for the Reckless Impeachment

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Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick harshly rebuked the House for this rushed impeachment, which did not allow due process or proper legal representation.

The trial was a bit of a fiasco, and Ken Paxton’s lawyer brought out the truth.

Mr. Patrick believes it never should have come to the Senate. The House did not do its job. He wants it addressed so it never happens again.

Rushed Partial Transcript

“For the last three months since the House of Representatives sent the articles of impeachment against the attorney general to us, on very short notice in the final hours of the regular legislative session, the law requires the Senate to receive the articles and have a trial. Once I realized I would be the presiding officer and judge, I thought it was my duty to be quiet about this issue; otherwise, how could I oversee a fair trial…

[…]

“The House vote to send the articles of impeachment against the attorney general to the Senate happened in only a few days, with virtually no time for 150 members to even study the articles. The speaker and his team rammed through the first impeachment of the statewide official in Texas in over 100 years while paying no attention to the precedent that the House set in every other impeachment before.

“In the past, the House had transparent and open investigations for all to see, including other House members. The target of the investigation was notified and invited to attend with counsel and given an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who were placed under oath before testimony was taken.

“… in past House investigations, the evidence was laid out for weeks for House members to evaluate, not hours before they took their vote on articles of impeachment. Representative John Smithee, a longtime House member who has argued cases before the Texas Supreme Court, spoke on the House floor during the impeachment vote in May. He was one of only 23 who voted against impeachment. Representative Smithee said the House could not legitimately impeach General Paxton on the record because there was no record to send to the Senate. He said the house was not following the rule of law… he said the House approach, and I quote Representative Smithee, ‘hang him now and judge them later.’

[…]

“… no House witnesses were put under oath, and the defendant was denied the right to cross-examine. Representative Smithee told his fellow members the House process was indefensible. Representative Smithee, said the House did not follow the rules of evidence, and their case was based on triple hearsay that would never be allowed in court. I think Representative Smithee’s speech was one of the most honest and courageous speeches I’ve ever heard of in the House, and if you want to watch it online, go to YouTube, look up John Smithee… his floor speech on the Paxton impeachment.

“It’s an amazing courageous speech to give when he knew he was only one of 23 not voting for impeachment in the next regular session.

“We should amend the Constitution on the issue of impeachment as currently written that allowed this flawed process to happen. Any testimony given in a House impeachment investigation must be given under oath, and the target of that impeachment must be allowed to present with a lawyer to cross-examine the witnesses. Otherwise, people can say anything they want without any accountability or need to be truthful because there is no threat of perjury.

“The House must also give members a minimum of two weeks to review all evidence given under oath before voting on such a serious matter.

“Had they done those two things, this trial may never have happened. The House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate; if they do in the future, the officials should not be put on unpaid leave through the process. The federal system does not allow that. Why do we allow that in Texas?

“President Clinton and President Trump did not have to step down from the Oval Office from their duties during their impeachment process. … this is not a partisan issue. We owe it to future legislatures to make these changes so that no future official impeached by the House, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, is subject to the way this impeachment process occurred in the House this year.

“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on this impeachment. Thirty-one senators and a large Senate staff that made this trial possible have put their family life, their jobs, and their business on hold for the last three months after already being here from January to June.

“I’m going to call next week for a full audit of all taxpayer money spent by the House from the beginning of their investigation in March to the final bills they get from their lawyers. We will provide our costs as well that were forced on us by the House impeachment—one big difference. We didn’t pay a huge team of outside lawyers and investigators. We did it mostly with our own staff working endless hours with no extra pay.

“As Representative Smithee said, this is not the way it has happened in the past in the House. That’s why I believe we’ve only had two prior impeachments. Our founders expected better. It should have never happened this year, and hopefully, it doesn’t again, unless we address this in the Constitution …”

[How does the J6 panel match up to what the Texas House did?]


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