Another Coulda’ Woulda’ Shoulda’ Moment for House Managers in Paxton Impeachment

Friday, October 6, 2023

Another Coulda’ Woulda’ Shoulda’ Moment
for House Managers in Paxton Impeachment
House Managers still trying to wipe the egg off their face.

HOUSTON TX – When the impeachment trial concluded, Presiding Officer, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, offered remarks in the Court record for the benefit of future legislatures to know exactly what happened. He cited the Speaker for a flawed process that started when the Texas House Managers hastily initiated and rushed impeachment proceedings. Their failure to properly vet their witnesses—through full hearings with sworn testimony under oath and rigorous cross-examination, was a colossal mistake. The House Managers’ shoddy work, poorly constructed and vaguely written articles, poor procedures, and shortcuts on fairness and due process resulted in a presentation before the Senate that collapsed like a house of cards. The majority of the jury never believed they proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

It’s not like the House wasn’t warned. Experienced House lawyers, Representatives John Smithee, Harold Dutton, and Travis Clardy, all sounded a clarion call—warning the House to step back from the precipice. Members were told that the House case was built upon nothing but hearsay. But House members were pressured to vote for impeachment.

Now, weeks after the conclusion of the trial, the House Managers, fumbling for an excuse for their pitiful process and performance, have made another desperate attempt to justify their actions.

The House Managers steadfastly insist their testimony and evidence are overwhelming and incontrovertible. That in and of itself is a ridiculous statement—the majority of the jury didn’t buy it. All but one Democrat voted to acquit on at least one article of impeachment, and Article 4 failed 28 to 2. Now the Managers are having a juvenile meltdown. Desperate for vindication, they claim a vast right-wing conspiracy enveloped the Senate. It’s embarrassing.

With the trial over and the verdict announced, the House Managers now want a mulligan. If only they had called another witness or offered another set of documents. That’s not how it works, and they know it. They had nine days to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and failed miserably.

What the Speaker and House Managers hastily and ill-advisedly concocted and debated within hours, the Senate carefully spent three months preparing for trial, nine days conducting the trial, and the jury studiously took hundreds of pages of notes during the trial as they listened intently to every word of testimony.

The House Managers performed like a tee-ball player tripping over their shoelaces. They mumbled and bumbled, complaining about the rules they and their legal team had agreed to play by, fumbled the resting of their case, and even tried to put one of their own attorneys on the stand to testify.

If the Speaker and House Managers had followed any commonsense approach during their impeachment process or the precedent of any statewide elected official impeachment, they never would have sent the articles to the Senate. It was clear they never had any credible evidence that met the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, how do House leadership and the Managers ever recover from this debacle? Honor the verdict of the jury because agree or disagree, that’s what we do in America.