Facebook / Ken Paxton
Texas AG Ken Paxton (center) meets President Donald Trump on the Tarmac during a 2019 presidential visit to Houston.
Those who follow Texas politics may have noticed an intriguing absence from the list of 143 people
President Donald Trump pardoned during his final hours in office: the name of embattled state Attorney General Ken Paxton.
After all, many speculated
that Texas' hard-right AG was after just such a pardon when he led a fruitless and widely derided lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to pitch out millions of swing-state votes and hand victory to Trump.
Paxton, reportedly under FBI investigation
for bribery and abuse of office, also co-chairs the group Lawyers for Trump and spoke at the incendiary January 6 rally where the president urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol
and "take back our country."
What's more, Paxton was the only state attorney general in the United States who didn't sign on to either of two letters
condemning the deadly insurrection.
At this point, though, it's unclear whether to read Paxton's omission from the list as a slight.
After all, the Republican AG has claimed he wasn't seeking a pardon
because, naturally, he's done nothing wrong. He hasn't yet been charged with any federal crimes.
Plus, one of Paxton's lingering legal problems — a five-year-old indictment on state securities fraud charges
that's still inching along in court — is outside of the president's pardon powers.
Beyond that, legal experts reportedly warned Trump
that pardoning himself, his kids and GOP elected officials who granted him favors would amount to damaging admissions of guilt.
For those keeping score at home, the FBI probe of Paxton stems from allegations made by top aides
that he abused his position to aid an Austin real-estate developer and political contributor.
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