Dick Brennan August 4, 2021
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are renewed calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an independent investigation found the governor sexually harassed multiple women.
“I think he should resign,” President Joe Biden said.
So what’s next? As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, the state Assembly has already started an impeachment inquiry, and now that will pick up steam.
If the governor does not resign, he could face an impeachment, but right now it’s not clear who has the votes.
WATCH: Attorney General Letitia James Releases Report Finding Gov. Andrew Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women
“I welcome the opportunity for a full, a fair review before a jury because this just did not happen,” Cuomo said Tuesday.
And the governor gave every indication that he’s not going anywhere.
“There is nothing we can’t do if we work together,” Cuomo said.
But after Tuesday’s damning report, it’s not clear if anyone will want to work with Cuomo.
So what’s next? Short of a resignation, the next stop for this case is Albany.
“The details provided by the victims are gut-wrenching. Our hearts go out to all the individuals who have had to endure this horrible experience,” New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement. “The conduct by the governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office.”
Heastie says the report has been forwarded to the judiciary committee for an in-depth examination.
“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,” said State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Stewart-Cousins says if it comes to impeachment, the Senate is ready.
“My colleagues are more than willing and ready to listen to presentation of the case and make their judgments from there,” she said.
An impeachment would be much like the one we saw in Washington, a vote from the Assembly followed by a trial in the Senate, where the governor would need every ally he still has.
“What we are going to see I think in the next couple of days, by the hour, more bleeding from the governor’s political camp, more people calling for his resignation,” said Democratic political strategist Javier Lacayo.
But an impeachment would also be a challenge for Democrats, no matter how it ended.
“They screw this up, they get this this wrong, they lost the governor’s race, the governor’s mansion in 2022. They could lose seats in the Assembly to the progressives, and they could lose seats in the Senate the Republicans,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.
The governor says political forces have lined up against him in this case: Those who might want him out of the governor’s seat after 2022, and want a Republican in.
Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released a joint statement calling on Cuomo to step down.
“No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office. We continue to believe that the Governor should resign,” they wrote.
“Under Attorney General Letitia James, a comprehensive and independent investigation into the allegations against Governor Cuomo has been completed. As always, I commend the women who came forward to speak their truth. Recognizing his love of New York and the respect for the office he holds, I call upon the governor to resign,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“It is in the best interest of the people of New York state for Gov. Cuomo to immediately resign and if he refuses to do so, the Legislature should take the necessary and immediate steps to have him impeached and forcibly removed from office,” said Assembly minority leader Will Barclay.
“Andrew Cuomo lacks the integrity required to be the leader of our state and can no longer serve as New York’s governor. He must heed the calls of so many New York leaders and resign,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.
“It is beyond clear that Andrew Cuomo is not fit to hold office and can no longer serve as governor. He must resign, and if he continues to resist and attack the investigators who did their jobs, he should be impeached immediately,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Reaction was swift from New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who was one of the first lawmakers to clash with Cuomo over his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
“Today’s report from Attorney General Letitia James confirms what we have long suspected: Governor Cuomo used his office to sexually assault, harass, intimidate, and humiliate his employees. He is wholly unfit to serve and must be removed from office immediately,” Kim said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran echoed their calls, saying, “The Attorney General’s findings are clear. The Governor must resign immediately.”
“The Attorney General’s findings are clear and compelling. The Governor must resign. The patterns of sexually harassing, intimidating and inappropriate behavior towards women cannot be tolerated,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
“Andrew Cuomo has acted for his entire career with abusive impunity, but his shamelessness cannot equate with immunity. He created a culture of abuse which he has long employed to evade accountability, but the creation of that culture itself demands accountability. He cannot continue to serve as Governor, and must resign immediately or be impeached expeditiously,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“The Attorney General’s report is deeply disturbing, clear and thorough. For the good of New York State, Andrew Cuomo must resign. If he does not, the New York State Assembly must begin impeachment proceedings,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Brian Higgins, Nydia Velazquez, Ritchie Torres, Yvette Clarke, Kathleen Rice, Grace Meng, Adriano Espaillat, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“The time has come for Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing for the people of New York state and resign,” Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Thomas Suozzi, and Gregory Meeks said in a joint statement.
“If this isn’t a statement of why Cuomo must go, I don’t know what is. Andrew Cuomo was so quick to accuse everyone else of sexual harassment. There is a long litany of people he has said should have been forced to leave their positions or not be considered for electoral office. He was so quick to be judgmental. And now the weight of evidence is clearly against Cuomo. He could do us all a big favor by resigning now,” said Republican New York City Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa.
New York City Councilman and the Democratic nominee for Comptroller Brad Lander also called for the governor to step down or be removed from office.
“Gov. Cuomo should have resigned in March. He should resign now. If he does not, he should be impeached. If he is not, he should be defeated at the polls,” said Lander.
“The world is finally introduced to the real Andrew Cuomo, the one Albany insiders have long known. He must be relegated to the dustbin of history,” said City Councilman Joe Borelli.
“Governor Cuomo should resign. The investigation was independent. The findings are incredulous. And I am deeply saddened and disgusted by the findings,” said former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“Democrats and Republicans must to come together and take a definitive, bipartisan stand against sexual harassment and toxic abuse in the workplace. That’s what we owe his victims. That’s what we owe all New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra.
“Not only has Gov. Cuomo broken the law by committing disturbing and dehumanizing acts against women, he has engaged in retaliation against his accuser, and also abused his power as an employer, boss, and the leader of New York and most powerful person in this state,” wrote St. Sen. Todd Kaminsky.
“I call on the governor to step down immediately,” said St. Sen. Kevin Thomas.
James said investigators found Cuomo “sexually harassed current and former New York State employees by engaging in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”
The governor responded, insisting he “never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on August 3.