A number of New York state legislators have expressed frustration with the pace of the impeachment of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and have floated the idea of continuing based on an outside report, The Wall Street Journal reports.
These legislators told the newspaper that they think a state attorney general probe into the sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo will be completed before the New York Assembly Judiciary Committee completes its investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James began investigating the claims at the beginning of March, the Assembly’s impeachment probe started in mid-March, and focuses on the harassment allegations and other issues, such as the reporting of deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic, the use of state resources to help with Cuomo’s memoir, and people close to the governor receiving priority access to COVID-19 tests at the beginning of the outbreak.
Last March, 40 Democrat legislators signed a letter calling on Cuomo to resign after the allegations surfaced, but 21 Democrat members signed a different letter saying that Cuomo has the right to due process and that James should be allowed to complete her investigation without interference. The Assembly’s 39 Republican members already advanced articles of impeachment against the governor, with GOP Assemblyman Kevin Byrne of Putnam County saying that the Judiciary Committee wasn’t progressing fast enough.
"There’s no end in sight, and that’s a problem,” he said. "If we get through the session without any action on this, then I don’t know what their goal is.”
Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens who signed the letter calling for the governor’s resignation, told the Journal that the Judiciary Committee wasn’t moving fast enough, and that he will be urging his colleagues in the legislature to move forward if the attorney general’s report supports the allegations against Cuomo.
"I think we already have enough evidence," Kim said.
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who signed the letter about due-process, told the newspaper that the Assembly is investigating on a larger scale than the attorney general, adding, "I’m hopeful that the Assembly’s impeachment investigation will wrap up sooner than later, and based on those findings, we will take the appropriate action.”
A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that the investigations must be allowed to finish and that Heastie "will not be commenting on any of these investigations, and we will determine how to proceed with our members when our process is completed."
The Journal notes that Cuomo has denied the allegations of inappropriate touching and apologized if his behavior in the workplace offended anyone. New York officials have said that their policies on nursing homes were created to help maintain capacity in hospitals, and claimed that the administration aides that worked on Cuomo’s memoir did so on a volunteer basis. A spokesperson for the governor declined to comment to the newspaper.
James’ investigators have interviewed several of the women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, according to lawyers representing the governor’s accusers, and the attorney general said at a recent press conference that her "investigation will conclude when it concludes. It’s very thorough and comprehensive.”
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