Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik demanded the resignation and arrest of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after an official investigation concluded that he sexually harassed several women.
“No one is above the law and today justice must be served. Governor Cuomo must resign and be arrested immediately,” Stefanik said in a Tuesday news release. “President Joe Biden must immediately call for Cuomo’s resignation.”
?? MY FULL STATEMENT CALLING FOR THE ARREST OF GOVERNOR CUOMO ?? pic.twitter.com/Xxl5ugsxTk
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) August 3, 2021
Earlier that day, New York state Attorney General Letitia James’ office released a long-awaited report on an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations directed at Cuomo, who is in his third term as New York governor.
James had appointed a team of independent investigators, led by Joon H. Kim and Anne L. Clark, in March to carry out the investigation, after multiple women stepped forward to allege that Cuomo committed sexual misconduct. Cuomo’s accusers included an executive assistant, a state trooper, several reporters and several current and former staffers.
During the course of the investigation, the investigators issued “over 70 subpoenas for documents and other information,” looked through “74,000 documents,” interviewed “179 individuals” and took a “testimony under oath from 41 of them,” according to the report.
Read the full report here:
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) August 3, 2021
“Upon completion of our independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment brought against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the surrounding circumstances, we have reached the conclusion that the Governor sexually harassed a number of State employees,” the report said.
Cuomo, according to the findings by James’ office, engaged in “unwelcome and unwanted touching,” and “making numerous offensive and sexually suggestive comments.”
Such behavior by the governor “was part of a pattern of behavior that extended to his interactions with others outside of State government,” according to the report.
“This is a sad day for New York because independent investigators have concluded that Governor Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and, in doing so, broke the law,” James said in a news release announcing the investigation’s results.
“I am grateful to all the women who came forward to tell their stories in painstaking detail, enabling investigators to get to the truth. No man — no matter how powerful — can be allowed to harass women or violate our human rights laws, period.”
However, James’ office, in the report, said it hadn’t reached “a conclusion as to whether [Cuomo’s] conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.”
The office’s investigation, though independent from a separate impeachment probe carried out by lawmakers in the New York State Assembly, has the potential to significantly influence whether Cuomo is impeached or not.
After the investigative report came out, Cuomo held a news conference where he said the accusations made against him were not true.
“I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said in the news conference. “I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am and that’s not who I have ever been.”
During the conference, he played a slideshow of pictures showing him kissing people’s cheeks and hugging them, and pictures of his parents kissing him to prove that the kisses are “meant to convey warmth, nothing more.”
In her statement on the attorney general’s report, Stefanik said that she was “the first federal official to publicly call for an independent investigation into Governor Cuomo’s sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.”
“The media and Democrats smeared me and closed ranks to protect Cuomo, a shameful chapter in New York history. All of them including his staff must be held to account. These brave women deserve swift and definitive justice.”
It wasn’t only Republicans who called on Cuomo to resign.
New York state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called upon Cuomo to voluntarily leave office “for the good of the state.”
“For the sake of the state of New York and the people, the governor should resign,” State Senate Majority Leader @AndreaSCousins reiterates call for @NYGovCuomo to resign in response to @NewYorkStateAG report. #NY1Politics https://t.co/5KIhAwN54t pic.twitter.com/0nmzHdsvmW
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) August 3, 2021
“This report highlights unacceptable behavior by Governor Cuomo and his administration. As I said, when these disturbing allegations first came to light, the Governor must resign for the good of the state,” she said.
“Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as Governor. Our highest elected offices must reflect the values and integrity that they profess and New Yorkers hold dear.”
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