NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has defiantly resisted a chorus of calls for his resignation. That begs the question: Will state lawmakers impeach him? And if so, how long will it take and what will that process mean for the public?
Jay Jacobs is the chair of the New York State Democratic Party and a long-time Cuomo loyalist. However, after reading the attorney general’s report about the sexual harassment allegations, he called the governor to urge him to resign.
And now we’re get an idea of what Cuomo might be thinking.
“He didn’t characterize, you know, his views on resignation,” Jacobs told CBS2’s Dick Brennan on Wednesday night.
Jacobs said Cuomo didn’t want to focus on the idea of stepping down.
“He was more directed to how he’s going defend himself. I think that he feels he wants his moment to tell the public his side of the story,” Jacobs said.
This as the Legislature is moving to fast-track impeachment.
“Cuomo cannot be permitted to stay in power for one more day and if the state Assembly under the leadership of Carl Heastie had been doing his job all along, they wouldn’t need any more time. It would be done already,” New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy said earlier Wednesday.
At least 55 of the 63 members of the state Senate, which would vote to remove Gov. Cuomo if he were impeached, have now called for his resignation. Heastie, the Assembly speaker, is the man who would oversee Cuomo’s impeachment. On Tuesday, he finally broke ranks, saying in a statement, “He can no longer remain in office. … We will move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”
The Assembly Judiciary Committee will meet next week to begin the impeachment process. A vote to impeach would mean the governor is forced to step down immediately and stand trial before the Senate eventually, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.
“I’m hoping that we really don’t have to go through that because, again, it’s a great deal of time, it’s a great deal of resources. I think we all know how this ends. So, I think it would be just best for the governor to resign, so that we can just get on with the state’s business,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would immediately become acting governor, the first woman to serve in the state’s highest office.
“As a woman in these kinds of positions we’ve had lost of opportunities to see each other, to work together, and so, again, I’m sure that she will be a capable steward during this time,” Stewart-Cousins said.
Hank Sheinkopf is a longtime political consultant.
“Cuomo would be the first governor in more than 100 years in New York to be impeached. How significant would that be politically?” Moore asked.
“It would be very significant politically. It would hurt Democrats very, very much,” Sheinkopf said.
Sheinkopf said actually removing the governor from office could be tricky, since the impeachment court would be comprised of Senate members and seven members of the Appeals Court, all judges and all appointed by Cuomo.
“The process of impeaching the governor could get very ugly. He still has some friends,” Sheinkopf said. “They’re going to have to force him out of there. They’re going to have to indict him to get him out entirely. That would be the ultimate issue. If he’s indicted, he would kind of be forced to go.”
Should Cuomo be removed from office, Hochul would continue to serve as governor until the end of his term, which is 2022.
When asked if he thinks the Cuomo saga will get to impeachment, Long Island state Sen. Todd Kaminsky said, “You know, that’s a very interesting question. In New York, unlike Washington, the governor is temporarily removed upon impeachment, so the governor is not even the governor during the trial, and one has to wonder if the governor will allow that to happen.”
CBS2’s Dick Brennan contributed to this report. Editor’s note: This story first appeared on August 4.