The trial managers will consist of seven Republicans and five Democrats. The announcement follows Friday's impeachment vote in the House on 20 articles of impeachment. The House voted 121-23 in favor of impeachment. The members of the House approved the managers in a vote of 136-4. The managers then walked across the Texas Capitol to the Senate chamber to deliver the 20 articles of impeachment. The Senate has announced no date or schedule.
"We will manage this process with the weight and reverence that it deserves and requires," Chairman Andrew Murr (R-Junction) told reporters during a Memorial Day press conference in the Texas House. "This is about facts and the evidence. It is not about politics."
The Texas Senate will determine the rules of the trial, and the senators will act as jurors. Chairman Murr told reporters the prosecution in the Senate would likely follow the rules similar to that of a civil or criminal trial. "You will see witnesses called placed under oath subject to both direct and cross-examination," Murr told reporters. "Rules of Evidence are assumed to apply, and the parties through counsel would make arguments of counsel and objections."
The Dallas Morning News reported that Paxton's office presented senators with a thick packet of his defense. Republican senators reportedly refused to open the box because they wanted the trial to be impartial and to see the evidence presented before deciding on the impeachment.
Ann Johnson, vice chair of the impeachment managers committee, reacted to the news, telling reporters, "We expect, as this committee has thoughtfully engaged in the process, with the highest level of integrity, that the individuals on the other side would realize dropping a binder on your potential jurors could be considered tampering or attempting to interfere with a lawful process."
Under the Texas Constitution, AG Paxton was immediately suspended from his position, and Governor Greg Abbott can now appoint an interim Attorney General. In the meantime, First Assistant Brent Webster is currently fulfilling the role of acting attorney general.
Republicans hold a 19-12 majority in the Texas Senate. The Texas Constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the present senators to convict and permanently remove Paxton from his elected position of attorney general. This means nine Republican senators must join with 12 Democrats to condemn.
The 20 articles of impeachment include allegations that include the misapplication of public resources, bribery, and obstruction of justice.