New York Democrats rip Gov. Cuomo’s defense of his pandemic response
FOX News correspondent Bryan Llenas has the latest details on the controversy on ‘Special Report’
Nine Democratic New York State Assembly members signed a letter to their colleagues accusing Gov. Andrew Cuomo of obstruction of justice and asking that lawmakers set aside political loyalty and oppose him.
The letter comes after an aide in Cuomo’s administration admitted that data regarding nursing home coronavirus deaths were intentionally withheld from state lawmakers. Cuomo has been accused of contributing to the high number of nursing home casualties due to a March 2020 directive that prohibited nursing homes from turning away people because they had COVID-19.
“We implore you to set aside any concerns of loyalty or disloyalty to this Governor, or that this matter is politicized,” said the letter, dated Tuesday. “We must absolutely consider above all the sanctity of the democratic institution that we call the Legislature of the State of New York, and resolutely pursue justice in the face of an executive who we can say without hesitation has engaged in intentional criminal wrongdoing.”
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa had reportedly admitted that the administration intentionally kept the nursing home data under wraps out of fear of possible repercussions from the Department of Justice. DeRosa later said that she “was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first.”
The lawmakers accused Cuomo of obstruction of justice by withholding information “[i]n an attempt to circumvent a United States Department of Justice probe, and despite a joint hearing held by the State Legislature last August in which representatives of the Cuomo administration were compelled to testify and answer crucial questions to our body.”
The letter mentions that Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens whose uncle was in a nursing home and died of COVID-19, is introducing a bill along with state Senator Alessandra Biaggi to repeal the amendments passed last year that extended Cuomo’s emergency powers.
“This is a necessary first step in beginning to right the criminal wrongs of this Governor and his administration,” the letter continued. The Assembly members went on to say that this alone would not be enough, stating that failure to do this “and engage in additional measures to seek the realization of justice” would make them “complicit” in the obstruction “and conscious omission of nursing home deaths data.
Those “additional measures,” the letter said, include overriding a possible executive veto “and potentially the commencement of impeachment proceedings against Governor Cuomo.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the letter.
Cuomo on Monday acknowledged that his administration delayed in reporting information about nursing home deaths but denied any wrongdoing. He said his team informed staffers at the New York State Assembly and Senate that their request for data was on hold until the DOJ request was fulfilled last August.
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Biaggi and other state lawmakers have pushed back on that claim.
“No, @NYGovCuomo, you did not tell the *entire* Senate or Assembly that there was a DOJ investigation, as the reason why you didn’t share the nursing home numbers,” Biaggi said in a statement. “I found out about a DOJ investigation with the rest of NY’ers in the @nypost story Thursday night.”
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.
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