Infighting among Texas’ top Republicans came to the fore after Attorney General Ken Paxton called on the state’s House Speaker to resign over allegations that he was drunk during legislative proceedings, allegations that surfaced one day before the chamber heard testimony about the criminal allegations against Paxton. .

Paxton, who remains indicted on 2015 securities fraud charges, accused Texas House Speaker Dave Phelan of being «in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication» at work after a video of Phelan who seemed to slur his words as he presided over the chamber on Friday went viral.

«After much consideration, it is with deep disappointment that I ask Chairman Wade Phelan to resign at the end of this legislative session,» Paxton said in a statement. statement Tuesday. “Texans were shocked to witness his performance presiding over the Texas House of Representatives in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication. His conduct has had a negative impact on the legislative process and constitutes a breach of duty by him to the public.»

Later Tuesday, Paxton posted a image of a letter calling on the House General Investigative Committee to investigate Phelan’s «conduct unbecoming of office.»

In a statement, Phelan’s spokeswoman, Cait Wittman, characterized Paxton’s allegations as politically motivated, noting that the House General Investigative Committee has been investigating «events related to the firing of the whistleblowers in addition to the alleged unlawful conduct of Ken Paxton» since March, according to the Houston Chronicle.

«The motives and timing behind Paxton’s statement today could not be more apparent,» Wittman said, the Chronicle reported. «Sir. Paxton’s statement today amounts to little more than a last ditch effort to save face.»

He The GOP-led committee met Wednesday to discuss the allegations against Paxton, and investigators told the panel there was evidence that the state attorney general had repeatedly violated the law over the years, including misuse of official information, abuse of official capacity and reprisals, according to the Associated Press.

Paxton was sued by four of his former aides in 2020. They alleged that he fired them in retaliation for reporting him to federal police for allegedly taking bribes and using his office to help one of his campaign contributors. The parties settled $3.3 million in the lawsuit, but the Texas Legislature did not agree to fund it with taxpayer dollars.

Phelan previously expressed opposition to Paxton’s request that the state pay $3.3 million to settle the lawsuit.

“I don’t think it’s the proper use of taxpayer dollars,” Phelan said during a interview in february.

Paxton pleaded not guilty to the 2015 charges, which have yet to come to trial. He, too, has not admitted wrongdoing in the allegations of bribery and abuse of power, which he has denied for years and called politically motivated. His and Phelan’s offices did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment about Paxton’s allegations against Phelan and the House committee’s investigation of Paxton.

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