The impeachment inquiry of outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to "go full steam ahead" even though he has resigned because the state's residents and taxpayers deserve accountability to understand what happened during his "reign of terror," state Rep. Colin Schmitt said on Newsmax Thursday.
"We also need to have justice for all of his victims," the New York Republican told Newsmax's "National Report," adding that there is bipartisan support to continue the investigation.
"The goal is to, at the minimum, ensure the governor is permanently banned from seeking state elective office in New York, so even if this process takes beyond the day that he said he was going to leave, Aug. 24, we can still bar Cuomo from ever seeking state elective office in New York."
He added that anything that is uncovered in a further investigation would be helpful to local, state, or federal prosecutors and others looking to hold Cuomo civilly or criminally accountable for any alleged actions.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, when she takes over from Cuomo, must continue the leadership qualities she's already shown, said Schmitt.
"She has always been more approachable, somebody that you could work with," he said. "Despite political differences or despite philosophical differences, she's willing to listen. She's willing to come into the communities that I represent and surrounding areas and have conversations about what local residents need. Gov. Cuomo was never willing to have that conversation. It was his way or the highway."
If Hochul is willing to break away from the Cuomo line and stand strong against the New York City Democrats' political machine, she has a "bright future," said Schmitt. "I think we have a great chance to work together."
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who is running for the governor's seat, said on Twitter this week that "entirely new leadership" is needed, and that Hochul will be taking over Cuomo's "systemic fundamental corruption and scandals."
In another statement, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said that Hochul isn't committing to not pardoning Cuomo or supporting further impeachment hearings against him, and Schmitt agreed there must be a system of "checks and balances."
However, he said New York is "suffering under one-party control," and the best chance of returning balance is to bring a Republican into the governor's mansion and ensure that Zeldin is elected governor.
"I think Congressman Zeldin and Congresswoman Stefanik have raised very credible points and it highlights the need to have a government that isn't controlled by one party in New York City, and that is why in the upcoming 2022 election, it's going to be critical to flip the governor's mansion," said Schmitt.
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