New York state’s Assembly speaker announced Friday that impeachment proceedings against Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been suspended.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, released a statement explaining that the governor’s recent resignation has triggered the move to suspend the impeachment proceedings against him.
“There are two reasons for the decision, “First, the purpose of the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation was to determine whether Governor Cuomo should remain in office. The governor’s resignation answers that directive. Second, we have been advised by Chair Lavine – with the assistance of counsel – of the belief that the constitution does not authorize the legislature to impeach and remove an elected official who is no longer in office.”
Cuomo resigned earlier this week amid multiple scandals including allegations that he sexually harassed several women. When he stepped down, he said he will leave office in 14 days.
“The decision from Assembly Democrats to suspend the impeachment investigation reeks of a shady deal to protect Andrew Cuomo,” said New York state Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt. “Resignation is not accountability. The Democrats not only failed in their constitutional responsibilities – they failed the Governor’s countless victims in nursing homes, brave women who came forward to tell their stories, and those who believe in honest and transparent government.”
The governor’s resignation came after the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, released a 165-page report based on allegations from 11 different complainants that concluded he sexually harassed women.
“New York tough means New York loving, and I love New York and I love you,” Cuomo said at the time of his resignation. “I would never want to be unhelpful in any way, and I think given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that’s what I’ll do.”
Cuomo will be replaced by New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, on August 24. Hochul has said she intends to run for re-election in her own right next year.