NY Speaker authorizes Cuomo impeachment investigation
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie authorized the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday evening.
This decision came after Heastie, a Democrat, met privately with members to discuss “potential paths forward,” the Speaker wrote in a statement.
Six women have come forward with accusations of inappropriate conduct against the governor, and calls for him to resign have begun to escalate.
Hours after the meeting, Heastie released a statement announcing the decision. State Rep. Charles Lavine (D), the chair of the state’s Judiciary Committee, will lead the investigation.
“After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo,” Heastie wrote in a statement.
Heastie also called the accusations against the governor “serious.”
The committee will have the jurisdiction to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate documents, Heastie noted in the statement. These powers, he wrote, are allowed by the New York State Constitution.
The Hill has reached out to Cuomo for comment.
The chorus of voices calling for Cuomo’s resignation has grown, especially since news emerged on Thursday that one of the allegations of groping against the governor was referred to police in Albany.
On Thursday, hours before Heastie authorized the impeachment inquiry, more than 55 New York State legislators signed onto a letter calling on Cuomo to resign amid the sexual harassment allegations. They also addressed the other scandal the governor is embroiled in: allegations that he altered COVID-19 data relating to nursing home deaths.
“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 lawmakers wrote.
“In the meantime, the Governor needs to put the people of New York first,” the letter stated. “We have a Lieutenant Governor who can step in and lead for the remainder of the term, and this is what is best for New Yorkers in this critical time. It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign.”
Earlier on Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Cuomo can “no longer serve as governor” in light of the accusations, and called the latest allegation against the governor “deeply troubling.”
Cuomo is already under investigation in New York for allegations of sexual harassment. Letitia James (D), the state’s attorney general, announced on Monday the appointment of two veteran lawyers to lead the investigation.
Heastie noted that the impeachment inquiry will “not interfere” with James’s investigation.
James reacted to the Speaker’s decision on Thursday evening, writing in a statement “today’s action by the New York state legislatures will have no bearing on our independent investigation into these allegations against Governor Cuomo. Our investigation will continue.”
Cuomo has since apologized for his actions, recognizing that some of his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal.” He did, however, deny ever inappropriately touching anyone.
On Monday, he said there was “no way” he would resign.