- Audio of a March 11 meeting obtained by Yahoo News revealed New York State Assembly members divided on Cuomo.
- Some members pushed back on the decision to launch a probe instead of formal impeachment proceedings.
- The investigation will be led by the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Audio of a March 11 video conference with New York Democrats revealed tension between state lawmakers on how to move forward amid Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual misconduct scandal, Yahoo News reported Tuesday.
On March 11, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, discussed opening an investigation in the New York governor amid mounting claims of sexual misconduct from multiple women, according to the audio obtained by Yahoo News.
He described to his colleagues his reasoning behind his decision to launch a probe into the scandal instead of formal impeachment proceedings, Yahoo News reported.
“I try to come up with something that’s best for the body,” Heastie said during the meeting, according to the Yahoo News report. “Everybody might not love it, everybody may not like it, but I try to get us to a comfortable place that protects the integrity of this house.”
He maintained that launching an investigation first was by “due process,” saying that “people get accused of things.”
“These days any one of us in this place could be accused,” he said during the call, Yahoo News reported.
Assemblyman José Rivera agreed with Heastie, adding that, as elected officials, anyone on the New York Assembly could also be embroiled in a scandal.
Heastie later publicly announced an impeachment investigation soon after the meeting. The probe will be led by the New York Assembly Judiciary Committee, which will also look into allegations that the state under-reported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and scrutiny surrounding faults in a bridge construction project.
“He’s got three major buckets of s— going on here,” Assemblyman John McDonald said, according to the Yahoo News report. McDonald showed support for Heastie’s plan on the call, Yahoo News reported.
At one point during the call, Heastie acknowledged that the New York State Assembly remained divided on how best to move forward with the emerging scandal involving the governor — “those who want to leave it to state Attorney General Tish James to investigate Cuomo’s conduct, those who hope the governor will step down, and the group that wants to see him impeached,” according to the Yahoo News report.
Other members of the New York State Assembly pushed back on Heastie’s decision to open the impeachment probe instead of formal proceedings.
New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim echoed the sentiment on the call, according to Yahoo News, saying: “We have a moral duty, a constitutional duty, to remove him from office if he does not resign.”
“We can punt it, but everyone now is watching every single thing we do,” Kim, who is an outspoken critic of the New York governor, continued. “We can make excuses, we can do a number of different things, but we know what’s going on. We know what the truth is.”
However, Yahoo News reported that many on the call supported his decision to move forward with an investigation led by the New York Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Representatives from Heastie’s office and Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.