New York state lawmakers announced Monday the investigation would continue into outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, three days and a wave of backlash after initially saying the impeachment proceedings would end with his resignation.
“The Assembly Judiciary Committee will continue to review evidence and issue a final report on its investigation of Governor Cuomo,” New York state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Judiciary Chair Charles Lavine, both Democrats, said in a joint statement.
“In doing so, the committee will take all appropriate steps to ensure that this effort does not interfere with various ongoing investigations by the United States Attorney concerning nursing home data; the attorney general concerning the governor’s memoir; and local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau, and Oswego – regarding possible criminal incidents of sexual misconduct,” they said.
The Democrat governor resigned last week amid multiple scandals including allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women while in office. He will be replaced by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Aug. 24.
Heastie came under fire last week after announcing that the governor’s resignation triggered the move to suspend the impeachment proceedings against him.
“There are two reasons for the decision,” Heastie explained in a statement Friday. “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.”
The initial decision was met with backlash by Republicans and Democrats alike.
“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 taxpayers paid for this investigation, and I think the taxpayers deserve to see what the Assembly has found,” Democratic state Sen. Sean Ryan tweeted. “Release all the evidence to the public.”