Abbott Names Interim Attorney General in Texas After Paxton’s Impeachment

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott named former Secretary of State John Scott as acting Attorney General on Wednesday after the state House impeached Ken Paxton.

“John Scott has the background and experience needed to step in as a short-term interim Attorney General during the time the Attorney General has been suspended from duty,” Abbott said in a statement Wednesday. “His decades of litigation experience and expertise will help guide him while serving as the state’s top law enforcement officer.”

Abbott, a Republican, made the interim appointment just days after the state’s Republican-controlled House voted 121-23 to impeach Paxton, with 60 of its 85 Republican members, including Speaker Dade Phelan, supporting his suspension on bribery and misuse of office accusations.

Paxton has been under FBI investigation for years over claims that he exploited his position to benefit a donor. In addition, he is awaiting trial on an accusation from 2015 claiming state securities fraud.

Paxton, who has denied any misconduct, referred to the impeachment proceedings as a “politically motivated sham” in a statement issued on Saturday.

Abbott Names Interim Attorney General in Texas After Paxton's Impeachment

The House has sent articles of impeachment to the state Senate, which will hold a trial to determine whether Paxton should be removed from office permanently.

The practice is set to begin no later than August 28, with a jury that may include his wife, Senator Angela Paxton.

Abbott praised Scott’s experience as an attorney, saying he had “handled cases at all levels of the justice system.” Abbott did not mention Paxton by name or comment on the impeachment in his statement selecting Scott.

Scott, who Abbott named secretary of state in late 2021, resigned last year after overseeing the 2022 midterm elections and presided over an audit of the state’s 2020 election results as the top elections official.

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When Abbott was attorney general, Scott was the deputy attorney general for civil litigation. Scott has also served as the chief operations officer of the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Paxton, a former Trump loyalist first elected attorney general in 2014, spearheaded an unsuccessful court effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in four critical states in 2020. He also supported Trump when he announced his presidential re-election bid last year.

Over the weekend, Trump backed Paxton on his social media website, Truth Social, claiming the proceedings were a form of political interference and a “very unfair process.”

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