Aaron Franco

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Capital Tonight: Governor’s Race Kicks Into Higher Gear

It’s the day after Labor Day, and for Texas politicians, that means more than just fashion cues. In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns are ramping up and finding new ways to tell their personal stories.

BATTLE OVER THE BALLOT BOX

The state’s voter ID law is on trial, in a case that could have national implications. We checked in on the court battle in Corpus Christi. Plus, the Deputy State Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, Marcelo Tafoya, joined us to explain why they’re involved in the fight.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Our Capital Commentators weighed in on the public fight between the Abbott and Davis camps over where and how to debate.

Capital Tonight: Political Strategists Analyze Perry’s Legal Team

Gov. Rick Perry has now added a seventh person to the team tasked with handling his indictment, and it’s another possible signal Perry is looking ahead to a run for president in 2016.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we learned more about former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt’s role. Plus, we heard from two lieutenant governor candidates at a committee hearing on education.

GAME CHANGE

While Politico reports Schmidt is officially named as part of the governor’s legal team, his role in McCain’s presidential run and his national profile indicate his hiring is more about the campaign trail than the courtroom. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on what his hiring indicates.

 

Energy Update

And the Texas oil and gas boom continues, with both positive and negative consequences coming down the pipeline. Republican state Rep. Jim Keffer joined us with an update on both.

Capital Tonight: Understanding Gov. Perry’s Legal Strategy

Governor Perry’s attorneys are moving quickly to dismiss the felony charges against him and get the case thrown out of court entirely. In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we got a look at their first legal move and heard from a St. Mary’s law professor Gerald Reamey about what the governor’s strategy means.

CAMPAIGNS CONTINUE

While Gov. Perry travels to New Hampshire, the race to succeed him continues. We heard why the Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns have been mostly silent on the Perry indictment and what they’re focusing on instead.

ON THE AGENDA

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg joined us to weigh in on the day’s political news. Plus, we heard new testimony from the seismologist hired by the state’s oil and gas regulators.

Perry Attorneys File Motion to Dismiss Charges

As promised, Gov. Rick Perry’s attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him.

They filed the motion in district court Monday morning. At a pre-trial hearing Friday, Perry’s attorney, David Botsford said the motion would attack the constitutionality of the prosecution. He says the law being used to prosecute Perry is too vague and that it violates the state’s constitution.

Gov. Perry is charged with two felony counts: abuse of power and coercion of a public servant. The charges stem from his threat to cut funding for the Public Integrity Unit, headed by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. When Lehmberg refused to resign after her drunken driving conviction, the governor followed through on that threat and vetoed the funding.

 

 

 

Capital Tonight: Reporters Examine Perry Indictment

The news surrounding Gov. Rick Perry’s indictment moved quickly this week. Monday, the governor’s defense team made their case to the public; Tuesday saw the governor get booked and fingerprinted; and the week ended with the prosecution and defense meeting in court for the first time.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on phase-two of the case against the governor and explained what both sides’ legal strategy means.

INDICTMENT 101

By now, most people have heard that the governor’s been indicted, but understanding why gets a little trickier. We looked at all the angles with Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News, Peggy Fikac of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News and Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune. 

 

BEYOND FERGUSON

Meanwhile, the events in Ferguson, Missouri have held the nation’s attention. We explored one of the questions it’s raised about the militarization of police.

McRaven Approved as Next UT System Chancellor

The group overseeing the University of Texas System has officially approved Admiral William McRaven as the next chancellor.

The UT Board of Regents approved his appointment at a scheduled meeting today. McRaven will be paid $1.2 million per year to oversee nine universities and six health institutions spread across the state. In a prepared statement, McRaven thanked the regents for their support and praised the current chancellor, Francisco Cigarroa, for his leadership. He added:

“Great universities not only teach—they educate, they build leaders, they create thinkers, and doers—across every aspect of life. This university system should be known for producing tomorrow’s leaders in every field of endeavor.”

Admiral McRaven is a Navy SEAL who has headed the U.S. Special Operations Command since 2011. He led the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden and is a UT graduate who delivered the 2014 UT commencement address. McRaven beat out finalist Richard Fisher, the CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. The board voted to make him a non-salaried UT system employee starting in December, when he’ll begin his term as Chancellor-Designate. He’s then set to replace Cigarroa, who announced in February he would step down from the position, at the start of 2015.

McRaven’s appointment is the first of several major changes coming to the University. After pressure — and threats of firing — from Cigarroa, UT Austin President Bill Powers announced he would resign in 2015. The board is in the early stages of searching for Powers’ replacement.

Capital Tonight: Political Spin Surrounds Perry Indictment

It’s been days since the governor was indicted, and everyone from the governor to Texas Democrats have had their say. In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we took a step back to separate the facts from the political spin that’s coming from both Republicans and Democrats.

REPORTERS’ NOTES

The significance of the indictment is still being debated, even among the reporters who know the story well. We sat down with two journalists who’ve come to different conclusions about it: Erica Grieder of Texas Monthly and Texas Observer writer Christopher Hooks.

 

FOOTING THE BILL

When it comes to legal representation, there’s no question that the governor has hired some of the best. But who’s going to pay for it and for how long? The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg gave us an update on the efforts to find out.

Capital Tonight: Perry Mugs for Cameras at County Courthouse

Gov. Rick Perry made the most of being booked and fingerprinted after a two-count indictment Tuesday. He spoke to a crowd of journalists and supporters before entering the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex to get fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken. Then, he came out and spoke again.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard more about the governor’s day at the courthouse, plus we learned more about the special prosecutor who led the investigation into Perry, and we spoke to two lawyers about the strength of the state’s case against the governor.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

After the speeches, came the release of the mugshot. Will it haunt his 2016 ambitions? Political strategists Harold Cook and Brendan Steinhauser weighed in.

PATTERSON’S TAKE

Plus, we heard from a man with no fear of sharing his opinion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson joined us to talk about the Perry indictment and a proposed change intended to allow the sale of alcohol at certain gun shows.

Capital Tonight: Perry Defense Team Makes Case in Court of Public Opinion

The governor’s legal team came out with guns blazing Monday, laying out their plan to fight a grand jury’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how the team of high-powered defense lawyers is making their case. Plus, we heard from attorney Dick DeGuerin, who defended Kay Bailey Hutchison after her indictment, about how he believes the governor’s case will play out.

ON THE AGENDA

The Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg weighed in on the possible political implications of the Perry indictment, including what it means for Perry’s 2016 hopes and Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s national reputation.

POWERS REFLECTS

UT Austin President Bill Powers has also seen his share of time in the spotlight. Now, he says he’s glad to be able to focus on what’s important. He joined us for a one-on-one discussion on his last year in office, his accomplishments and tension with UT System leadership.