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U.S. Sen. John Cornyn accepts Paxton impeachment acquittal, notes pending legal issues

By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn accepts Paxton impeachment acquittal, notes pending legal issues” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday he accepts the verdict that the state Senate reached in the impeachment trial of Ken Paxton but noted the attorney general still has pending legal issues.

“I don’t think the story is over yet,” Cornyn told Texas reporters.

Cornyn has been a notable figure in the saga — the rare state GOP leader to continuously express concern about the whistleblower claims at the heart of the impeachment. And since he was acquitted earlier this month, Paxton has harshly criticized Cornyn, stoking speculation he could run against Cornyn in 2026.

The Senate acquitted Paxton on all 16 impeachment articles that centered on allegations Paxton misused his office to help a friend and donor, Nate Paul.

“I think even though people may be disappointed in the outcome, while others may be delighted, that’s our process,” Cornyn said on a conference call with Texas reporters. “So I accept the fact that the Senate rendered the verdict it did, and I think it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the attorney general will be able to move on because of [additional legal issues].”

Paxton still faces a long-running securities fraud case that could finally go to trial next year. A federal investigation into the whistleblower claims remains ongoing, and whistleblowers also have a lawsuit pending — one they are hoping to jump start after Paxton’s acquittal.

The verdict ratcheted up a civil war among Texas Republicans, especially after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who served as judge, ended the trial with a speech condemning the House’s impeachment process. While Cornyn had praised Patrick’s performance as judge toward the start of the trial, he declined to offer an opinion Thursday on the lieutenant governor’s speech.

“I’m very much aware, as is everybody else, of the relationship between the House of Representatives and the Texas Senate,” Cornyn said. “Frankly, I’m not going to get in the middle of that.”

During a post-verdict tour of conservative media outlets, Paxton bashed Cornyn as weak on illegal immigration, and he did not rule out a primary challenge in three years. While Cornyn did not address that possibility Thursday, he previously shrugged it off, saying he was “kind of busy” with his work in the Senate, including border issues.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

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