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Indicted Texas AG Tweets Golf Photo with Trump Before Trashing ‘Unconstitutional’ Biden Actions at Conservative Conference

Indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton posed on the links next to former president Donald Trump on Saturday morning. Later that morning, the serially beleaguered Lone Star State law enforcement official was bemoaning the policies of President Joe Biden at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“Beautiful day in Mar-a-Lago with my favorite President,” Paxton tweeted during the nine o’clock hour. “Headed to []CPAC next. Can’t wait to see everyone!”

Less than two hours later, Paxton shared an image of himself and three other speakers on stage at CPAC.

“We can not tolerate any unconstitutional action by this administration,” the attorney general wrote via Twitter in reference to Biden. “We have won this first battle with deportations, but we are just getting started. I will defend and protect our constitution at all costs. That is what makes America great.”

Paxton quickly set himself up as a foe of the nascent Biden administration by filing a lawsuit challenging the 46th president’s order curtailing deportations for certain classes of immigrants. Advertised as a “deportation moratorium,” that Jan. 20 order actually only applied to a certain subset of undocumented people in the country prior to November 1, 2020.

Still, the optics and headline news reporting on Biden’s immigration order suggested an overall pause on deportations. Paxton sued to enjoin that order three days into Biden’s term of office, on Jan. 22 and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a temporary restraining order on Jan. 26.

Paxton issued a statement welcoming the court’s decision:

The Court’s decision to stop the Biden Administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action. A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law. Blatantly illegal security threats cannot be allowed to stand, and the rule of law must be upheld. I commend the Court for prioritizing the law and safety of our citizens, and I will continue to defend Texas against the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of President Biden and his Administration.

The court’s original order was only in effect for 14 days but did not require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to actually schedule deportations. The Biden administration went forward with deportations anyway and has, to date, deported over 26,000 people despite multiple campaign promises to put a halt on deportations during his first 100 days in office.

A later ICE memo detailed a series of discretionary guidance that gives the agency increased authority to deport certain classes of immigrants while restraining agents’ authority with other classes of immigrants. Biden could exercise executive power to stop deportations altogether but chose not to take that route.

Nearly a month after that first order was issued, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction which enjoins the limited deportation moratorium until further notice.

While Paxton has taken the opportunity to golf and needle the current White House about his courtroom wins, his own legal troubles are far from over.

The Texas attorney general was indicted on felony securities-fraud charges five years ago — though his case has moved at a glacial pace since then.

Since October of last year, Paxton has been under fire by eight former employees who allege that he misused his office for political gain. Paxton quickly fired the whistleblowers; they in turn sued him for retaliation. The embattled GOP politician later told a district court in Texas that the terminations were not retaliatory but that each aide was merely axed due to “misconduct, lack of competence, and/or disloyalty.”

Earlier this month, the whistleblowers filed an amended complaint alleging a lurid conspiracy of corruption, an extramarital affair, and classic pay-to-play scheming.

According to that recently-filed version of that lawsuit, Paxton intervened on behalf of one of his campaign donors for various reasons centering around a home remodel and a series of moves made to curry favor with said donor in order to keep his allegedly illicit liaisons under wraps.

“Paxton and [the Office of Attorney General] misused the funds, services and personnel of his office to personally benefit Nate Paul and to benefit himself,” the complaint alleges. “Plaintiffs reasonably concluded that Paxton’s bizarre, obsessive use of the power of his office to help Nate Paul was an effort to repay Paul for Paul’s help with Paxton’s home remodel and/or to silence or repay Paul for helping or paying Paxton’s mistress, and/or to encourage Paul not to reveal that Paxton had had an affair.”

[Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images; featured image via Twitter/Ken Paxton]

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