NEW YORK — New York lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed outrage and frustration on Sunday following the stunning announcement that the Assembly would not move forward with impeachment proceedings against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
However, Cuomo’s resignation was not a guarantee that impeachment was off the table. Speculation swirled that New York lawmakers could move forward with articles of impeachment, not only related to sexual harassment allegations but also potentially for his administration’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and a scandal surrounding his pandemic book.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee was expected to meet Monday to discuss future proceedings — until Speaker Carl Heastie said on Friday that the Assembly cannot impeach and remove an elected official no longer in office.
Republican Assemblymember Mike Tannousis, who is on the Judiciary Committee, told PIX on Politics host Dan Mannarino on Sunday that he was blindsided by the speaker’s announcement.
“I can only speak for myself. I, myself, was not informed prior to the information being released,” Tannousis said. “I was looking forward to meeting on Monday because given the fact that the governor resigned, obviously there was some kind of change or different direction that we would have to take. I just did not think it would necessarily lead to [the end of the investigation].”
Democrat Ron Kim, who also joined PIX on Politics Sunday morning, said some lawmakers consulted an independent legal expert at Cornell University who countered Heastie’s assertion that impeachment cannot move forward because Cuomo is leaving office.
“We want to present our counter argument to our conference,” he said.
Both lawmakers said it was critical to, at the very least, release the findings of the impeachment investigation, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars to conduct.
“This is not my money, this is the taxpayers’ money … They deserve to have everything on our website, all the findings, word-for-word,” Kim said.
Tannousis agreed, saying the residents of New York have the right to know what was going on in Cuomo’s administration.
“We are elected by the people, and the people want accountability from their state government,” he said. “The public has a right to know. In the past few months, we’ve revealed so much corruption coming out of the governor’s office. I think the taxpayers, the residents of the state need to know what was happening in the governor’s office.”