Cuomo sexually harassed several women, says Prosecutor 6:03
We, the investigators assigned to conduct the investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, conclude that the Governor engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment under federal and New State law. York ".
With those 35 words from investigators at the New York Attorney General's office, the New York Democrat's political career probably came to an end.
The announcement came at the end of a months-long investigation that included interviews with 179 people and the review of more than 74,000 documents and ended with the shocking finding that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including state employees and a state trooper.
He also retaliated against a woman who decided to make the accusations against her public, according to the prosecution's report.
"Our investigation revealed that these were not isolated incidents," said Joon Kim, one of the attorneys who led the investigation.
"They were part of a pattern."
New York Attorney General Says Found Governor Cuomo Harassed Multiple Women
Cuomo was defiant in a post-report appearance.
He published a point-by-point response to the accusations presented by the Prosecutor's Office and insisted that "the facts are very different" from how they are being presented in the report.
The governor also insisted on his innocence:
"I have never touched anyone inappropriately, nor have I made inappropriate sexual advances," he said.
Cuomo denies accusations of harassment in prosecutor's report 8:51
Cuomo has been buying time for months by insisting that he would not comment on the various allegations against him until James's report emerged.
"I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts presented by the Attorney General's report before forming an opinion," he said this spring at the peak of interest in the accusations against him.
Well, the report is already published.
And it presents Cuomo as a repeat offender, not the unfortunate victim of an isolated misunderstanding.
And this makes his March claim that "people know the difference between playing politics, bowing to the culture of cancellation, and the truth" appears to be true, just not in the way Cuomo expected.
Biden says Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign, following harassment allegations
While Cuomo's allies have attempted in recent months to present the James investigation as a political effort driven by a policy that seeks to take the governor's post, the details and length of the report make it widely difficult to sustain that position in the court of public opinion. .
(Which doesn't mean, of course, that Cuomo isn't going to try.)
So what will happen now?
Cuomo will have to decide whether to resign from his post or announce that he is withdrawing from the race for a fourth term next fall.
While the report could alter that personal estimate, Cuomo was defiant in the face of calls for resignation that came in the spring.
(Much of the New York congressmen, as well as Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, had called for his resignation at the time.)
"I am not going to resign; I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people," Cuomo said at a news conference on March 12.
If that is what he truly believes, then there is no way he will leave before his period ends.
Biden: Cuomo should quit 1:04
It seems more likely that Cuomo will announce that he will not seek a fourth term.
But there is a bit of personal psychology in Cuomo's desire for a fourth term that could make his resignation difficult.
His father, the late Mario Cuomo, ran and lost his bid for a fourth term as governor to a little-known state legislator named George Pataki in 1994. Andrew Cuomo would very much like to accomplish what his father never could.
It's possible, of course, that the Democratic-led Empire State Legislature will overrule Cuomo's decision altogether.
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who has the power to impeach the governor, lashed out at Cuomo in a statement released just after the James report.
"The Governor's conduct outlined in this report is indicative of someone unfit for office, Heastie said. He did not announce any plans to initiate impeachment proceedings, but noted cryptically:" We will have more to say in the very near future. ".
Knowing the opinion of the voters on all this is simply impossible at the moment, given the recentness of the report and its conclusions.
And the results were mixed even before Tuesday's scandal.
Pressure Mounts for Cuomo to Step Down (March) 0:46
While 61% of Democrats favored Cuomo and 53% said the Assembly should not impeach in a late June poll from the Siena College Research Institute, that same poll showed that more than half of Democrats wanted Cuomo to resign immediately (13%) or not run for another term in 2022 (40%).
Presumably the number of women featured in the James report and the credibility investigators found in his allegations will change some minds about the next steps for Cuomo.
The last six years in politics have taught me, and should teach us all, not to make definitive predictions about how the public will react to allegations of this kind against a politician.
But it is extremely difficult to see any kind of road, at least today.