If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo does not resign on his own volition, the state Assembly prepares an impeachment trial to remove him from office.
Following the report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who confirmed that the governor sexually harassed at least 11 women, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are poised to vote in favor of impeachment against Cuomo.
James’ report found that Cuomo engaged in “unwanted groping, kissing and hugging,” made inappropriate comments toward staff, and oversaw a workplace culture “rife with fear and intimidation.”
Under the New York Constitution, impeaching Cuomo would require a simple majority vote of the 150-member State Assembly, which is composed of 106 Democrats, 43 Republicans and one independent.
At least 86 Assembly members, representing more than half of the total 150, have publicly said or affirmed to The Associated Press that they would favor taking such a step to remove Cuomo.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, called on the Assembly to return to session “immediately” to begin impeachment proceedings.
“There is no measure left to hide the truth. The governor broke the law so we must hold him accountable,” Kim said in a statement he posted on his Twitter account.
“When institutions fail to believe victims, allow predators to act with impunity, or fail to put policies of protection in place, it sends a strong signal that condones this type of unacceptable behavior. We cannot afford to ignore his transgressions any longer: doing so will erode the integrity of our legislative body and demonstrate complicity in sheltering a sexual predator,” he said in the missive.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, also a Democrat, said in a statement, “As I said, when these disturbing allegations first came to light, the governor must resign for the good of the state. Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as governor.”
Cuomo has no choice: resign or impeachment
Prominent national and state Democrats, including Speaker Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York’s two U.S. senators, have called for Cuomo’s resignation.
For her part, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, “The president believes Governor Cuomo should do the right thing, resign, and leave space for future leadership in New York.”
Also, four Democratic governors from neighboring states are urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down.
The governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island issued a joint statement on Tuesday, calling for Cuomo’s resignation.
Similarly, one of the governor’s closest allies, New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs declared that Cuomo “has lost his ability to govern, both practically and morally.”
For his part, Assembly Republican leader William Barclay this week urged Democrat Carl Heastie to call an emergency special session to vote to recall Cuomo. However, Hestie said he wants to quickly conclude the body’s investigation.
Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris told The Associated Press that the Assembly has been preparing for an impeachment trial for months that could begin in the next few weeks.