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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

  • In the suit, filed in a Northern California court, Twitter said "Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees."
  • Twitter said it has rights under the First Amendment "to make decisions about what content to disseminate through its platform," including "the discretion to remove or otherwise restrict access to Tweets, profiles, or other content posted to Twitter."
  • The company added in an emailed statement that in this case, "the Texas Attorney General is misusing the powers of his office to infringe on Twitter’s First Amendment rights and attempt to silence free speech."

The big picture: The U.S. and governments around the world have sought to crack down on Big Tech companies and curtail their perceived powers in recent years.

  • Just last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced his office was working with state senators on legislation he said would "prevent social media providers like Facebook & Twitter from cancelling conservative speech."

For the record: Paxton is an ardent Trump supporter, who unsuccessfully filed lawsuits that sought to invalidate 10 million votes in four battleground states lost by the former president in the 2020 election.

Of note: The attorney general is facing other separate legal challenges, including an FBI investigation into allegations that he "used his office to benefit a wealthy donor," AP notes.

  • He's also due to stand trial on securities fraud charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The case that dates back to 2015 has stalled in the courts following legal challenges, according to AP.
  • Representatives for Paxton did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details on the lawsuit, comment from Twitter and further context.

Go deeper

16 mins ago - World

Israeli and Palestinian officials are speaking again

Isaac Herzog (L), then the leader of the opposition, meets with Mahmoud Abbas in 2015. Photo: Abbas MomaniI/AFP via Getty

Relations between the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have shifted substantially in recent weeks, with Israeli officials going so far as to call it “a renaissance."

Why it matters: During Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister, relations deteriorated to the point where there was almost no contact other than security coordination.

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group reaches agreement on $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on "the major issues" in their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer raises estimate of COVID-19 vaccine sales by 29%

Pfizer anticipates manufacturing 4 billion doses of its vaccine next year. Photo: Chet Strange/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer expects revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine, co-developed by BioNTech, will reach $33.5 billion this year — a 29% jump from the previously estimated $26 billion.

Why it matters: This vaccine, which has dramatically slowed the coronavirus pandemic, is on pace to be the world's top-selling drug of all time, by far. And now Pfizer is pushing for people to get a third "booster" shot of its vaccine to combat the growing Delta variant.