Former Secretary of State John Scott, an ally of Donald Trump, has been appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as the temporary replacement for Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The state’s House of Representatives voted to impeach and suspend Paxton last weekend due to allegations of criminal misconduct.
Scott’s appointment was announced by Governor Abbott, who emphasized that it was a temporary measure until Paxton’s trial in the state Senate this summer. Paxton faces 20 charges, including obstruction of justice, bribery, and abuse of public trust.
Abbott praised Scott’s background and experience. Scott previously served as Abbott’s deputy when he was attorney general and defended the state’s strict voter ID law. He later held positions in the state’s Health and Human Services Commission and as the chief elections officer before resigning in December.
The appointment of Scott helps Abbott deflect criticism from both Trump and Paxton supporters, who have condemned Republicans who voted for Paxton’s impeachment and those, like Abbott, who did not stand up for him.
“MISSING IN ACTION! Where is the Governor of Texas on his Attorney General’s Impeachment?” Trump said on Truth Social on Saturday.
In 2021, Paxton proudly told Steve Bannon, who coincidentally is also about to go on trial for a fraud case, that if not for him, Trump would’ve lost Texas in the 2020 election. In the interview, he spread misinformation by conflating mail-in ballots with applications for mail-in ballots — “Harris County did not attempt to mail actual ballots to registered voters—just applications to request them if the individual voter wanted one,” Newsweek clarified.
By choosing Scott, Abbott is also countering conservative criticism that the attorney general’s office would be ineffective without Paxton, potentially allowing the Biden administration to act without restraint. Notably, Paxton’s chief deputy, Brent Webster, was skipped for the temporary replacement role.
Paxton, who has served for 12 years in the GOP-controlled legislature and won three attorney general’s elections, has faced ongoing legal troubles. Interestingly, he’s been under indictment for securities fraud since 2015 and was subject to an FBI investigation on allegations of using his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Four of Paxton’s aides were fired after reporting the allegations and subsequently filed lawsuits. The FBI’s investigation concluded without any charges.
The impeachment vote against Paxton was historic, marking only the third impeachment in Texas’ nearly 200-year history.
Trial rules are expected to be announced on June 20, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also a Trump ally, presiding over the proceedings and setting a trial date by August 28.
In the trial, the state Senate will serve as the jurors who will decide Paxton’s fate. Among them is his wife, state Senator Angela Paxton, who has not yet announced whether she would recuse herself from the vote. One of the 20 cases he’s accused of is using his position to get a job for a woman with whom he was having an affair.
Information for this story was found via Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.