The state’s top lawyer spoke to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a pre-recorded interview that aired Wednesday night. Carlson congratulated the 60-year-old on avoiding the impeachment conviction and claimed he was “fascinated” by the case, despite Paxton’s own staff blowing the lid on their boss for allegedly giving real-estate tycoon and donor pal Nate Paul special treatment.
Carlson made no attempt to broach the allegations throughout the 46-minute interview. Paxton allegedly intervened on a federal fraud probe into Paul, accepted bribes from Paul, ordered staff to research for Paul, and invented fake COVID-19 gathering restrictions to postpone Paul’s foreclosure auctions.
Paxton did not testify throughout the trial nor did he even attend most days, and an FBI investigation is still underway. He was acquitted on 16 articles of impeachment by the Texas Senate on Saturday.
“It was crazy,” Paxton said. “I truly believe it became very political, and I am sitting here because of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and I was delivered, because it wasn’t just about the law, it became political completely, and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out on the political side.
“They created a lot of harm to the state of Texas by doing it this way,” he added, lamenting that he wasn’t paid “for some reason” after his June suspension.
Paxton blamed Democrats for his impeachment, though nearly half of the state representatives—60 out of 121 total—who voted to impeach Paxton were Republicans. Without providing evidence, Paxton theorized that his impeachment was a plot by the Biden administration and other groups in Texas—some of whom, he added, were Republicans. He did not name names.
Paxton said he had no idea why he was being impeached and said it was “horrible,” blasting those who he says betrayed him, notably House Speaker Dade Phelan and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, who wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying Paxton would be convicted.
The attorney general said viral video replayed by Carlson that appears to show Phelan drunk on the House floor was “unbecoming of a Speaker,” adding that he was “horrified” and asked for an investigation, but instead “they came after me.”
Paxton said he was eager to speak out about the allegations but noted he was barred by a trial gag order imposed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and “could not defend what was being leaked.” He accused House impeachment managers of bypassing the order and leaking damaging information to media outlets. “I just had to take it,” Paxton opined.
“It was very difficult to deal with,” he said. “It wasn’t fair.”
Believing his career is far from over, Paxton said it was possible he could take on U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. “Everything’s on the table for me,” he said.
“I’m re-energized to do the things the voters sent me to do,” he said.