Lawmakers are taking a closer look at impeachment as Gov. Andrew Cuomo's lawyers have made it clear that the three-term governor has no intention of resigning after a bombshell New York attorney general's investigation substantiated claims of at least 11 women who said Cuomo sexually harassed them.
"I am not aware of the governor having plans to resign," Cuomo lawyer Rita Glavin told CNN on Saturday.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee, which is leading the impeachment investigation into Cuomo, is scheduled to meet on Monday at 9:30 a.m. in Albany.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers who sit on the committee will be receiving an update on the investigation from outside counsel hired by the Assembly in March.
Assemblyman Charles Lavine, who is chair of the committee, signaled on Thursday in a letter to the governor's attorneys that the Assembly could very soon be considering articles of impeachment.
"We write to inform you that the Committee's investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client," Lavine wrote.
Lavine is giving Cuomo's team until Aug. 13 to share any materials they feel the Assembly impeachment investigators might need.
"A subpoena was subsequently issued for such material," Lavine wrote. "The Committee continues to expect full compliance from the Governor."
Cuomo's spokesman and chief advisor Rich Azzopardi said the governor and his team "will be cooperating" with the impeachment inquiry.
Investigators from the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell were tasked by the Assembly impeachment team to look into numerous allegations, including whether the governor used his office to sexually harass women, if he used state resources to help him write his $5.1 million pandemic book, or if Cuomo's administration intentionally withheld the number of COVID-related nursing home deaths.
During their last meeting in June, investigators were granted the authority by the Assembly Judiciary Committee to issue subpoenas and take the testimony of witnesses under oath.
"This is the next step in the process," Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said. "It's the normal step. We all expected this was going to happen and so now they're doing it. It also gives them the ability to deal with the Attorney General's Office because now they are authorized to subpoena the same information the Attorney General's Office is subpoenaing. And so now you're putting them on the same level."
The impeachment investigation, which was first launched around five months ago, has drawn criticism for its slow pace compared to the attorney general's. But shortly after the report dropped on Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie signaled that things will be progressing "expeditiously."
"He can no longer remain in office," Heastie said. "We will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
There is now more of an appetite in the Assembly for things to move faster with already two-thirds of state Assembly members saying they favor an impeachment trial if Cuomo refuses to resign. And the attorney general's office has signaled it will share its evidence with Assembly investigators, potentially cutting down on the time it would take to interview witnesses twice.
The attorney general's office has already agreed to a "rolling production" of witness interview transcripts, with certain redactions, to be made available to the state Assembly.
Cuomo's lawyers and the governor himself have repeatedly said he has done nothing wrong and voiced frustration over not receiving witness transcripts before the report's release.
Glavin called the report "an ambush," despite the fact Cuomo authorized the investigation on Feb. 28.
Cuomo is not only facing a potential impeachment trial. He could also potential criminal charges.
Brittany Commisso, who is identified in the report as Executive Assistant #1 and who has now since stepped forward publicly, has filed a criminal complaint against the governor with the Albany County Sheriff's Office for allegedly groping her and putting his hand up her blouse at the Executive Mansion.
According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, Cuomo could face multiple misdemeanor charges if law enforcement can substantiate Commisso's complaint.