Speaker of NYS Assembly Backs Committee Impeachment Investigation of Governor Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. -
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool, File)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s grip on power appeared increasingly threatened Thursday as a majority of state legislators called for his resignation and Democrats launched an impeachment investigation.

At least 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate have said publicly they believe Cuomo should quit office now, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The count includes 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.

The top Democrat in the state Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, on Thursday backed a plan for its judiciary committee to launch an impeachment investigation.

The committee can interview witnesses and subpoena documents and its inquiry could be wide-ranging: from alleged workplace misconduct to COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes. It won’t interfere with a separate inquiry of harassment allegations being conducted by state Attorney General Letitia James, according to Heastie and James.

“The legislature needs to determine for itself what the facts are,” a member of the committee, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, said. “For the people who want immediate impeachment, I think we say please be patient. The process is slow. This could be the next step.”

In New York, the Assembly is the legislative house that could move to impeach Cuomo, who faces multiple allegations that he made the workplace an uncomfortable place for subordinates.

“All of us are extremely disappointed,” Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, a Democrat representing Orange and Sullivan counties, told The Associated Press. “I think there’s no room in the world right not for that kind of behavior. He should have known better.”

Gunther on Thursday became the ninth Assembly Democrat saying they’d vote for impeachment, alongside at least 37 Republicans.

Cuomo’s support in the state Senate was especially thin. Roughly two-thirds of its members have called for the Democrat’s resignation, including Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

A group of 59 Democrats, including 19 senators and 40 Assembly members said in a letter Thursday that it’s time for Cuomo to go.

“In light of the governor’s admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need,” the letter said. “It is time for Gov. Cuomo to resign.”

Cuomo has repeatedly said he won’t resign and urged the public to await the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation.

Reporting by AP