State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie approved an impeachment inquiry into Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 12. The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Charles Lavine, will be conducting the investigation.
There has been a great deal of criticism directed at the governor, including a call for his resignation by several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. But the governor said he will not resign.
The outcry against Cuomo began after a few women accused him of sexual harassment and new information surfaced regarding the governor’s handling of nursing homes in the early days of the pandemic.
The impeachment inquiry, which just began, may last a long time. “The committee is in the process of retaining an independent counsel,” said Lavine, a Democrat from Glen Cove. “In so far as how long this could last, these things tend to take on a life of their own.”
Here’s how it will work. The Judiciary Committee will make its recommendation to the Assembly whether Cuomo should be impeached. If the decision favors impeachment, the Assembly will take a vote. And if the majority votes to impeach Cuomo a trial in the Senate will follow.
So far the process is similar to former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment inquiry in D.C. But here’s where it differs. Although the members of the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump, he remained in office during his trial in Congress. If the New York State Assembly votes to impeach Cuomo, he will have to step down and New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Kathleen Hochul, will serve as acting governor until the outcome of the trial.
Hochul, 62, of Buffalo, is an attorney who was briefly a member of Congress, when in 2011, she won a special election for a House seat. But she went on to lose her re-election bid in 2012. Cuomo chose her to be his running mate in 2014. If he resigns or is found guilty and impeached, Hochul will be the first woman in history to serve as governor of New York.
When U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi ran for governor in 2006 against Eliot Spitzer he lost by a wide margin. The Glen Cove resident said he has not thought about running for governor. Suozzi has said repeatedly that he does not wish to weigh in on Cuomo’s guilt until after the investigation by Attorney General Letitia James is complete.
“I’m very happy in Congress,” Suozzi said. “I’m excited I was able to get the funding for the people in my district and the state.”
He added that he wants to continue to focus on getting the State and Local Tax deduction reinstated.
“During the virus Helene [his wife] and I were talking about how any time I have planned ahead that it didn’t turn out good,” Suozzi said. “When I ran in 2006 it didn’t turn out too well for me or for my competitor, as it turned out. I don’t plan. I will continue to do my job the best I can.”