President Biden, local governors call for Cuomo's resignation

The report found that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed 11 state employees and women outside of government

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Cuomo sexual harassment investigation: Reaction and what comes next?
Josh Einiger has more on what happens next after the AG's bombshell report.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Attorney General's 168-page report containing findings of sexual harassment and misconduct committed by Governor Andrew Cuomo are renewing calls for his removal or resignation, including from President Joe Biden.

State Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings Tuesday.

Biden said he has not spoken to Cuomo and that he stood by his statement earlier this year that Cuomo should resign if the allegations were confirmed.

When asked if Cuomo should be impeached or removed from office if he does not resign, Biden said "let's take one thing at a time."

"I think he should resign, I understand that the state Legislature may decide to impeach, I don't know that for fact, I've not read all that data," Biden said.

President Biden said Tuesday that he thinks Gov. Cuomo should resign amid the attorney general's report.

The president was one of many officials or lawmakers to react to the news of the attorney general's report on Tuesday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, and Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee released a joint statement Tuesday and called on Cuomo to resign:

"We are appalled at the findings of the independent investigation by the New York Attorney General. Governor Cuomo should resign from office."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who would lead any impeachment proceedings, initially said it did not appear Cuomo was fit for office. He released an updated statement saying he believes Cuomo has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority:

"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. 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."

The attorney general's report is expected to play an important role in an ongoing inquiry in the state Assembly into whether there are grounds for Cuomo to be impeached. Heastie said lawmakers will review the findings and have more to say in the near future.

ABC News Political Director Rick Klein detailed what the results could mean for Cuomo:

ABC News Political Director Rick Klein discusses the possible fallout from the AG's report on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is also calling on Cuomo to resign.

"Under Attorney General Letitia James, a comprehensive and independent investigation into the allegations against Governor Cuomo has been completed," Pelosi said in a statement. "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."

RELATED | Full details of 11 complaints against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to AG report

An investigation found New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple state government employees, state Attorney General Letitia James said.

The investigation, conducted by two outside lawyers, found that the Cuomo administration was a "hostile work environment" and that it was "rife with fear and intimidation."

Cuomo faced multiple allegations last winter that he inappropriately touched and sexually harassed women who worked with him or who he met at public events.

"The governor broke federal and state law when he sexually harassed me and current and former staffers," accuser Charlotte Bennett told Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday. "And if he's not willing to step down, then we have a responsibility to act and impeach him. He sexually harassed me. I am not confused. It is not confusing. I am living in reality. And it's sad to see that he's not."

Attorney Mariann Wang, who represents two of the women, wrote "(Cuomo) should not be in charge of our government and should not be in any position of power over anyone else."

Wang represents Alyssa McGrath, who still works for the Governor, and Virginia Limmiatis, who accused Cuomo of unwanted touching in 2017.

Cuomo has always denied the allegations and continued to do so on Tuesday afternoon.

"I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances," he said. ""Trial by newspaper or biased reviews are not the way to find the facts in this matter."

Wang called the response "laughable."

"He is also found by independent investigators to have immediately punished and bullied anyone who does not agree with his behavior, forcing them out of jobs or limiting their career prospects," she said. "Our laws are there for a reason. Women who go to work should be allowed to do so in a safe and secure environment, not subjected to being grabbed, touched or be stared at. And not being punished for reporting it."

Cuomo is also finding little support from fellow Democratic lawmakers.

New York City Mayor de Blasio called the findings "very troubling" during his news conference on Tuesday.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to AG Letitia James' report on her investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"You've got the president of the United States, the speaker, majority leader of the Senate, everyone saying the same thing, he's gotta go," de Blasio said Tuesday night.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York echoed calls for Cuomo to resign.

"The fact that there are 11 women coming forward is deeply, deeply disturbing," she said. "I do believe he should resign."

Democratic U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi, Greg Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries have also joined with their colleagues in the New York Congressional Delegation calling for Cuomo to resign.

Assemblymember Ron Kim said on MSNBC's "The Reidout" that it is our responsibility to hold him accountable.

"There is a clear pattern of abusive behavior and abuse of power, and it is our duty, a legal and ethical duty to hold him accountable," Kim said. "And if he doesn't step down, we must engage."

Cuomo has given no indication that he will resign. Showing photos of him kissing luminaries, Cuomo appeared to reject the entire 168-page report, accusing its authors of weaponizing ordinary intersections, jokes and banter.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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