Houston Matters

Why it matters that Paxton’s impeachment trial is taking ‘all the oxygen out of the room’

We discuss the start of the trial, the Houston mayor’s race, and other developments in our weekly political roundup.


Houston Matters Political Roundup


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Day two of suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial is under way in Austin.

On the opening day of proceedings Tuesday, Paxton pleaded not guilty to the charges brought by the Texas House, including bribery, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and abuse of the public's trust. Those charges stem from accusations by Paxton's former aides that he pressured them to take steps to benefit Austin real estate investor Nate Paul. When they went public with that accusation in 2020, Paxton fired them, which the aides say violated the state's whistleblower law. Paxton then agreed to a settlement with them but asked lawmakers to fund it, prompting the Texas House investigation that has led to this impeachment trial.

Among the revelations from the first day of the trial: we learned Paxton will not be forced to testify if he doesn't want to. We also learned that, after the first few minutes, Paxton really didn't even need to be there, and was, in fact, not in the chamber when the trial resumed Tuesday afternoon.

The Texas Senate got through opening statements and testimony from one aide. Five others were sworn in Tuesday, with expectations they’d testify Wednesday.

In the audio above, we discuss the trial and its impact on the world of government and politics in our regular Wednesday political roundup with Mark Jones, political science fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, and Renee Cross, senior director and researcher at the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.

Cross notes the trial is going to “take all the oxygen out of the room” (i.e. take attention away from the Houston mayor’s race).

Joshua Zinn

Joshua Zinn

Producer, Houston Matters

Joshua is a producer for Houston Matters on News 88.7 as well as the host of Encore Houston on Houston Public Media Classical. He joined Houston Public Media as a radio intern in 2014 and became a full-time announcer the following year. Now he prepares segments and occasionally records interviews...

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer & Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer and manager,...

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