The Corner

Politics & Policy

NY State Assembly Gives Cuomo Impeachment Defense Deadline

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at an event to announce five new vaccination sites in New York, N.Y., April 23, 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Democrats have obviously decided that Andrew Cuomo is now a liability.

The New York State Assembly has informed Governor Cuomo that, if he has any additional evidence in his defense to present to its impeachment inquiry, he must do so by next Friday, August 13.

As we’ve noted here several times, (a) the impeachment inquiry has been a meandering sham, controlled by Cuomo allies in the legislature, and (b) of all the pending Cuomo investigations by federal and state entities, the only one that posed real peril for the governor — the only one that could shift the ground and inject real purpose into the impeachment theater — was the one conducted by state attorney general Letitia James, through two well-regarded outside investigators.

That report turned out to be devastating. Once President Biden followed its release by calling for Cuomo to resign, the governor’s support collapsed.

The best weathervane on this is Assembly speaker Carl Heastie, Cuomo’s most important (erstwhile) ally in the chamber. When AG James dropped the hammer on the governor at the press conference on Tuesday, Heastie bleated that he was “disturbed,” and then made like a good New York pol — i.e., he stood back to see which way the wind would blow, how the tabloids and cable news would react, and where the polls would go. Then, right after Biden made himself heard Tuesday afternoon, Heastie promptly made up his mind that Cuomo had lost the confidence of the legislature — overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats — and had to go.

Cuomo could try to tough it out — that is his instinct — but I wouldn’t bet on it. Those who are relying on the Ralph Northam or Bill Clinton survival models are applying the wrong template. In this instance, the media, which Democrats rely on as their scandal defense, have never been solidly in Cuomo’s corner.

The politics applicable here isn’t Republican/Democrat; in New York, it’s woke-progressive/establishment-Democrat. The former have wanted Cuomo out all along; the latter, which are cowed by the former (see, e.g., Biden’s cave on the eviction moratorium), were with Cuomo as long as it looked like he could ride it out and remain his old powerful, vindictive self. Now that he’s roadkill, they are turning on him, too — for the reasons deftly described by our pal John Podhoretz in the New York Post yesterday.

Clock’s ticking.

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