NEW YORK — NY Assembly Leader Carl Heastie says Cuomo can “no longer remain in office” and says the state legislature will expedite what remains of their impeachment investigation.
“After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General’s report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office,” Heastie said in a statement. “Once we receive all relevant documents and evidence from the Attorney General, we will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
This comes as the fallout from the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues. The entire state is wondering what the next steps are.
Cuomo has already refused to resign, despite calls from New York City and state elected officials.
While the governor faces re-election in 2022, he has not stated his intentions yet. That means the only way to remove him from office between now and November of 2022 would be an impeachment.
Here’s how the impeachment process works for state officials in New York.
Under the New York constitution, the State Assembly has to vote by a simple majority to impeach the governor. Then the case goes over to the State Senate for trial.
“There’s no simple standard to really measure impeachment under the New York State constitution, “ Democrat consultant Jack O’Donnell told PIX11 News in Feburay.
O’Donnell wrote a book, “Bitten by the Tiger,” about the only governor ever to be impeached and removed from office in New York: William Sulzer in 1913.
He also has a sense of the standard legislators might use today.
“I think it really is conduct unbecoming to the office, whether that’s the governor, lieutenant governor or the courts,” he said.
In the Senate, senators — along with the judges of New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals — hear the case, the chief judge presides, assembly members prosecute, and a two-thirds majority is needed to convict.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Nou told a reporter Tuesday that she had drawn up articles of impeachment months ago and had them ready for when the report came out.
As the year has gone on, New Yorkers have been polled about their feelings regarding the governor since the scandal initially broke. A Siena Poll released July 1 showed 23% of New Yorkers saying he should resign immediately, 39% saying he should serve out his term but not seek re-election, and 33% saying he should continue to serve and run for re-election.
When it came to impeachment, voters a month ago wee more closely divided with 45%, a plurality, saying the Assembly should not impeach Cuomo, while 35% – including one-quarter of Democrats – would like to see the Assembly impeach the governor.
At the time, 42-32% of those polled said investigations into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo will find evidence of harassment.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would be next in line to serve as governor if Cuomo were impeached.
Hochul said in a statement Tuesday that Gov. Cuomo’s behavior is “repulsive and unlawful,” but added that as next in line to be governor, she would not comment further on the process.