ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee will begin a formal impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo following sexual assault and harassment allegations that have come to light.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Thursday that following the Assembly Majority Conference earlier in the day, he has authorized the investigation of the 63-year-old governor. Heastie says the allegations of misconduct are serious.
The authorization gives the committee the ability to subpoena documents, look at any evidence, and talk with witnesses.
Heastie says he has full confidence in Assembly Member Charles Lavine, the chair of the committee who will lead the investigation, and the committee will do an "expeditious, full, and thorough investigation."
Lavine previously was the chair of the committee that created the Assembly's Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination policy.
Heastie says this investigation will not interfere with the independent Attorney General investigation.
New York Attorney General Letitia James immediately followed up the announcement saying that the state legislature's actions will have "no bearing" on their investigation and confirmed the AG's separate investigation will continue.
Earlier this week, Attorney General James announced the appointment of former Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne L. Clark as the two attorneys leading the independent investigation into Governor Cuomo.
How impeachment works in New York State
Here is the synopsis:
- Any New York State public officer can be removed for "misconduct or malversation in office," but, those terms are left up to interpretation at the state level.
- Impeachment truly begins when the Assembly introduces a resolution outlining why the public officer should be impeached.
- Then, the resolution would only need more than half of the Assembly to vote in favor of it. Currently, out of 150 seats, Democrats account for 106, Republicans have 43, and there is one lone independent.
- If it passes the Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor (Kathy Hochul) would become acting Governor.
- The Senate would then begin its trial with the help of judges from the State Court of Appeals. Hochul and the Senate Majority Leader (Andrea Stewart-Cousins) wouldn't be allowed to participate.
- Two-thirds of the Senate and the judges would have to vote to impeach for it to pass. If impeached, the Governor loses their office and can't hold office again.