Assembly Judiciary Committee meets to discuss investigation into Cuomo
ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — Within the next few weeks, we will know whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be impeached. The committee currently deciding his fate, met today and after a five-hour closed-door session said their investigation will wrap up soon.
The committee has been investigating since March but with the release of the Attorney General’s report last week, which concluded the governor sexually harassed 11 women, they’ve kicked it up a notch and expect to decide whether to move forward in the impeachment process by the end of the month.
Legislative leaders in Albany have already asked the governor to step down.
"Members have no confidence in the ability of the governor to remain in office," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "I think that’s the universal sentiment that we have."
Since it doesn’t appear Gov. Cuomo is going to resign, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will ultimately decide whether to start the impeachment process.
A governor has not been impeached in New York in more than 100 years.
"Future generations will look to us and how we conducted ourselves in this moment in order to ensure due-process which is embedded in our system," Heastie said.
In addition to the sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, the committee is also investigating whether the governor purposely undercounted nursing home deaths during the height of COVID-19, whether he offered preferential COVID-19 testing to his family and friends and if he used state resources to write his book.
Any one of these, if true, could be an impeachable offense, but the committee says it has to do its due diligence.
Charles Lavine/Chair, NYS Assembly Judiciary Committee –
"I understand there are some people who want impeachment, vote on it now, to remove him from office and I understand that," said Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine. "However if we are not in a position to present our best case he could very well win in the court of impeachment. For everyone who is concerned about him being an office now, if he wins and he returns to office unfettered that is another danger so it’s a matter of a balance."
Heastie assured the public of one thing Monday.
"This idea that the assembly going through its process is somehow going to allow the governor to figure something out on this I would disagree with that assessment altogether," Heastie said.
When Heastie was asked Monday how much this impeachment investigation has cost taxpayers so far, he said, "into the millions". And that’s just the Assembly’s portion of it.
The Attorney General’s investigation was done on the taxpayer dime too, and if the Assembly votes in impeach, it goes to trial in the Senate, which will also be taxpayer-funded.