His job done in Texas—crime defeated, corruption accusations beaten, wrongdoing righted—Attorney General Ken Paxton traveled from Austin yesterday to a much deeper den of iniquity: Manhattan. “With President Trump in NYC to sit through this sham of a trial,” he posted this morning. “This trial is a travesty of justice. I stand with Trump.”

The Texan made his appearance midafternoon, presumably white-hatted, with six-shooters in hand. According to the pool report from a dogged reporter covering the trial of the century, or at least the trial of the month, “Trump entered at 2:12. He pumped a fist and did not speak. He was accompanied by his son Eric, Texas AG Ken Paxton, campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Jason Miller, and lawyers.”

Setting the trial lawyers and Susie Wiles aside, this is not exactly an impressive brain trust. Miller is a D-team adviser mostly famous for personal scandals. Eric is the ex-president’s second or third least capable son. Paxton’s office is continually imploding and he has a bad track record in court. One wonders what useful advice he could possibly be offering.

It’s funny that Paxton is eager to sit in a courtroom, for once. Paxton was indicted for felony securities fraud in 2015: He postponed the trial so long, using various procedural maneuvers and the assistance of friends in his home county, that the charges finally fell apart this year. When he was impeached last summer, he briefly appeared at the Senate trial before going to get a massage and otherwise staying home. Paxton has never missed a chance to miss the chance to prove his innocence.

But maybe Paxton’s appearance can be chalked up to boredom with his current station, coupled with more grandiose aspirations. He’s been making moves to bolster his brand and establish himself as a political kingmaker, with some success. The most talked-about possibility for the AG’s future—speculation eagerly encouraged by Paxton—is that he will launch a primary challenge against Senator John Cornyn in 2026. The two spar frequently on social media and through intermediaries. If he does make that move, he’ll need Trump’s backing, whether or not Trump wins this year.

If Trump does prevail, a lot of exciting jobs will open up. Trump’s complaint with the AGs who served under him in his first term, Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr—Foghorn Leghorn and a man impersonating a bullfrog, respectively—was that they weren’t really “his;” that they had an at least theoretical commitment to the rule of law instead of his interests. If Trump is looking for a man in his second term who’ll stand by him through thick and thin, well…look. Paxton is standing there now. (Just as he did at the rally that kicked off the January 6 riots.)

You can think about Paxton in two ways. One is to wonder how a guy so (allegedly) crooked won a job as important as attorney general. But if you think about it that way, your brain will start hurting. The better way is to stand a little bit in awe of the man, accept that he’ll never face consequences for anything, and pivot to morbid curiosity about how far he can take this lifelong commitment to the petty grift. If that’s your view, this is a great time to be a fan of Ken Paxton.