In the wake of his fatal mishandling of COVID-19 in his state’s nursing homes and a series of sexual harassment and assault allegations lodged against him, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing loud and increasingly bipartisan demands for his removal from office.
Now, it appears Democratic lawmakers in New York are prepared to take a “first step” toward making those demands a reality. According to Fox News, the New York State Assembly has launched what Speaker Carl Heastie (D) calls “an impeachment investigation” into allegations of misconduct by Cuomo.
A “full and thorough investigation”
The development was announced Thursday in a statement from Speaker Heastie’s office.
“After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo,” Heastie said.
“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” the state speaker continued. “The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents, and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution.”
Heastie also said he has “the utmost faith that Assemblymember Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.”
He indicated that the inquiry will not interfere with a parallel investigation being conducted by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
A “first step toward impeachment”
Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim, who previously accused Cuomo of “bullying” him after he raised questions about coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes, said in a statement to Fox that the move marks “the first step toward impeachment” for the embattled governor.
“The Democratic Conference is taking the first step toward impeachment by opening an investigation with full subpoena power to obtain facts and testimonies under oath,” Kim said.
“Some members, including myself, argued that we had enough admission to proceed with impeachment today but the conference is leaning toward setting up the process and structure toward impeachment,” the Democrat added.
Citing an Associated Press count, Fox reported that at least 121 members of the New York Assembly have publicly called for either Cuomo’s resignation or his impeachment, including at least 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.
Of course, even this “first step” isn’t enough to satisfy Cuomo’s most ardent critics, including many Republicans who, like Kim, believe there’s ample evidence already to support an immediate effort to oust the governor from power. What are Democrats in New York waiting for?