It’s pretty clear that if Gov. Andrew Cuomo is either forced to resign or is forced out of office by impeachment, it will be based largely on the sexual harassment allegations outlined in the attorney general’s report earlier this week.
Notwithstanding his pathetic response after the report was released on Tuesday or the unconvincing discredit-the-victims, discredit-the-report Zoom call his attorneys staged for reporters on Friday afternoon, it’s the sexual harassment claims that have brought virtually all of his former supporters in politics to call for his ouster.
But questions about the governor’s fitness don’t start or end with the report.
And if the state Assembly, which is expected to start impeachment proceedings soon, can’t hang him with 11 credible women and one motivated attorney general, they have plenty of other things to go after him for.
They can start with the non-harassment allegations contained in the AG’s report.
That report alleged that Cuomo’s staff made attempts to discredit one of the accusers by sending her personnel records to reporters shortly after she raised the allegation, a sign of intimidation.
The report also said the governor’s team circulated a letter attacking her work conduct and alleging a political motivation for her coming forward, a clear attempt to discredit her.
Does a governor who is fit for office use his vast power to intimidate and discredit his critics?
Aside from the harassment report, Cuomo’s fitness for office also is under question over the publication of his $5 million deal to write a book about how he managed the covid crisis. Investigators are looking into his alleged use of his paid government staff to research and edit the book.
There is also more information coming out about the extent to which his office attempted to hide, undercount and downplay the number of deaths related to his failed policy to return covid-infected patients from hospitals back into nursing homes — an attempt to avoid criticism from both the public and the federal government.
Knowing the extent of the problem could have resulted in a faster and more vigorous response that could have saved more lives.
If the sexual harassment, book deal and nursing home fiascoes don’t sink him, lawmakers could easily pry open and re-investigate a treasure trove of other scandals.
They could look into allegations he arranged special access to early covid tests for family members and other prominent friends and officials.
They could look deeper into reports that bolts holding the Tappan Zee replacement bridge together were weak and threatening the structure, and that the state knew about it for years.
They could even go back and look into scandals like those related to the Buffalo Billion economic development project and allegations of wire fraud, bid-rigging and bribery.
Even if the governor got off the hook by discrediting his sexual harassment accusers and the attorney general who put them together in a crippling report, there are still plenty of other reasons he could and should be removed from office.
It’s only a matter of time.