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Democrats want Cuomo's resignation, Republicans call for impeachment

Office of the Governor

President Joe Biden late Tuesday joined a growing chorus of Democrats calling on Gov. Cuomo to resign.

Biden called on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign Tuesday after an explosive new report was released by the New York State attorney general's office on allegations of sexual harassment against the governor.

"I think he should resign," Biden said of the fellow Democrat. Later in the press conference he said, "I've not read the report, I don't know the detail of it. All I know is the end result."

He stopped short of calling for Cuomo's impeachment and removal by the New York State Assembly, or whether he should be prosecuted.

Earlier Tuesday, several WNY politicians issued statements and tweets calling on Cuomo to step aside.

Statement from NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: We have received the Attorney General's 168 page report containing findings of sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Governor Cuomo. The findings contained in the report are disturbing. 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. The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office.

The report has been forwarded to the members of the Judiciary Committee as well as all members of the Assembly. We will now undertake an in-depth examination of the report and its corresponding exhibits with our Assembly counsels as well the legal firm we have retained to assist us.

We will have more to say in the very near future.

Amherst Democrat Karen McMahon is a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee conducting an impeachment probe of Gov. Cuomo:

Cheektowaga Democrat Monica Wallace is a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee conducting an impeachment probe of Cuomo:

Following their call for resignation in March, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) released the following joint statement:

“As we have said before, the reported actions of the Governor were profoundly disturbing, inappropriate and completely unacceptable. Today’s report from the New York State Attorney General substantiated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who came forward to share their stories -- and we commend the women for doing so.

“The New York State Attorney General has conducted an independent, thorough and professional investigation that found the Governor violated state and federal law, had a pattern of sexually harassing current and former employees, retaliated against at least one of the accusers and created a hostile work environment.

“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.”

Every member of New York’s delegation in the House also publicly called for Cuomo’s resignation Tuesday. A handful had taken the position that Cuomo deserved to stay in office until the attorney general’s office concluded its report.

State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, who represents Niagara and Orleans Counties, called the report "sobering" and was taken aback by the lack of accountability Cuomo displayed toward the report.

"The only thing that was missing, I mean, 74,000 pieces of documentation, over a hundred witnesses, 11 women, and yet the governor seemed to challenge the facts and the very basis of the report in his response," Ortt said. "No real ownership. Certainly no contrition. And he doesn't seem to be resigning. The Assembly Democrats should immediately move forward with impeachment proceedings based on this report. Our conference stands ready to come back immediately to deal with this."

The chair of the state’s GOP committee, Nick Langworthy, renewed his call for impeachment.

“I called for Governor Cuomo’s impeachment on Feb. 11 and I renew that call today,” Langworthy said. “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.”

As for a looming impeachment, the actions that trigger impeachment at the state level is different than at the federal level.

"Impeachment in the state of New York is not the federal standard, high crimes and misdemeanors — it's abuse of power," said Assemblymember Phil Steck, a Democrat from the Capital Region and a member of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. "In the Judiciary Committee we are investigation a variety of instances of abuse of power, of which sexual harassment is one."

If Cuomo is impeached or resigns, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would become governor, and be the first woman to lead the state. Because of that line of succession, Hochul only issued a short statement.

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service. The Attorney General’s investigation has documented repulsive and unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women and admire their courage coming forward,” Hochul said. “No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps.”

WXXI's Juan Vazquez contributed to this story.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.
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