New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that the impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo will move swiftly and come to an end soon as state lawmakers from both parties call for an end to the governor’s time in office.
Heastie, a Democrat, issued a statement after Attorney General Letitia James and her office released a report detailing the findings of an independent investigation into allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women between the years of 2013 and 2020.
“After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said in a statement shared by the Wall Street Journal’s Jimmy Vielkind. “Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
In a separate statement, Heastie described the findings of the attorney general’s probe as “disturbing.”
“The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office,” he said.
The attorney general’s office has confirmed that it has turned over the report to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and “will provide them with all relevant evidence.”
The impeachment investigation has been going on since March, and Democratic leadership has faced criticism from Republicans for its slow progress. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt called out the Judiciary Committee in May when it had only given two updates on its progress at that point, with no indication of when their next public meeting would be.
“This seems to be nothing more than a delay tactic or to provide some cover to say we’re doing something, but not really doing anything,” Ortt said at the time, according to NY1. “And it has bought the governor time. I do not have any real optimism that this investigation is anything more than window dressing.”
Democratic Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine said in a statement that Assembly counsel and independent counsel from the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell are going over the report.
“We are reviewing the Attorney General’s extensive report documenting sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Governor Cuomo,” Lavine said. “The findings are extraordinarily disturbing. The details provided by the victims are repugnant.”
Republican leadership also weighed in on the attorney general’s report. New York Republican Party chair Nick Langworthy said the report’s findings were “disturbing” but “should not come as a surprise to anyone.”
“I called for Governor Cuomo’s impeachment on February 11th, and I renew that call today,” Langworthy said in a statement. “If he does not immediately resign, Speaker Carl Heastie must call for a special session to bring articles of impeachment to the floor for an up or down vote. Democrats in Albany have been protecting him for too long–time is up.”