A majority of New York state lawmakers support opening impeachment proceedings against Governor Andrew Cuomo if he doesn’t resign, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
At least 82 of the State Assembly’s 150 lawmakers have backed opening the proceedings publicly or in comments to the AP. Beginning an impeachment would require the approval of a majority of lawmakers in the Assembly, of which 106 are Democrats, 43 Republican, and one Independent.
“The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will now undertake an in-depth examination of this report and its corresponding exhibits….We will have more to say in the very near future.”
New York State Democratic Committee chair Jay Jacobs, a longtime Cuomo ally, said on Wednesday that he had unsuccessfully attempted to convince Cuomo to resign.
“I was working very hard to accomplish that and I got to a point I wasn’t making headway,” Jacobs told Spectrum News reporter Nick Reisman. Cuomo remaining in office “is not helpful. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure that out. The sooner we resolve this, the better I think it will be.”
If the Assembly approves opening impeachment proceedings, a trial would commence. The trial court would consist of all New York State Senate members except the majority leader, currently Andrea Stewart-Cousins, plus the seven judges on the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. (All seven current Court of Appeals judges were appointed by Cuomo.)
The trial court would consist of 69 people in total, with a two-thirds majority of 46 required to impeach and remove the governor from office.
Only one governor in the history of New York, William Sulzer, has been impeached and removed from office, and Sulzer’s impeachment occurred over a century ago. Some of the impeachment procedures are not fully clear, in part because of vague statutes governing the process and because of lack of precedent for impeachment in the state.