BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “We are witnessing the unraveling of a cover-up”, declared Nick Langworthy, chair, New York State GOP.
Harsh reactions coming in from both republicans and democrats learning a federal probe by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn is underway into how the Cuomo administration handled the reporting of thousands of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
“I think the Cuomo administration really screwed up by not releasing that information,” remarked Patrick Burke, State assemblyman, democrat.
“Andrew Cuomo is unfit to continue his service as governor of the State of New York,” Langworthy stated.
Langworthy is calling for Cuomo to be impeached.
The state Assembly Republican Conference is also moving to form an impeachment commission to review what it’s calling quote “Gov. Cuomo's nursing home cover-up.”
All of this is unfolding in the week after the New York Post reported secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa held a meeting to privately apologize to democratic lawmakers for how they reported nursing home death data.
Transcripts from the meeting reveal Derosa saying in part they “froze” fearing data would be politically used against from the Trump administration.
“How do you react to that?”, Buckley asked Burke.
“I am through the roof furious with them,” responded Burke.
Burke says he “welcomes” the federal probe, but does believe republicans are using it politically against Cuomo.
Cuomo responding earlier this week to the revelation saying quote all deaths in nursing homes and hospitals were reported “fully”, “publicly” and “accurately,”
“I want everyone to know, everything was done — everything was done by the best minds in the best interest,” Cuomo said.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this situation,” replied Congressman Tom Reed, republican.
Congressman Reed has been pushing for a federal probe and says he's “very pleased” an investigation is underway.
Reed he's also seeking a federal complaint against DeRosa.
“When you talk about the complaint, does that still calls or a possible arrest of DeRosa?”, inquired Buckley.
“There was obstruction of justice and there was out right potential perjury — to the justice officials that warrants a direct arrest of not only DeRosa, but Governor Cuomo,” replied Reed.
This also comes as state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are considering legislation to remove Cuomo's emergency powers, he's had during the pandemic.
Burke is among five state democrats and 10 republicans from Western New York supporting that move.
Burke said some fo Cuomo's COVID rules — like orange and yellow zones did not work.
“It was a bad idea. It didn't really work in Buffalo and Western New York and it wasn't very fair,” Burke explained.
Burke says it's time to pull back on the powers, which expire in 45-days.
But the assemblyman noted lawmakers must create a new process as they continue dealing with the pandemic to ensure there is centralized decision making to protect the public's health.
The New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay S. Jacobs has released the following statement in response to GOP calls for impeachment:
"The NYS Republican Assembly leadership call for Governor Cuomo’s impeachment less than a week after their Party’s failure to support impeachment & conviction for Donald Trump defies credulity. To be clear, Governor Cuomo is accused of failing to timely release data on deaths that occurred in nursing homes. No matter how one looks at it, not one more person lost their life because of any delay in statistical reporting after the fact and not one more person contracted COVID-19. Moreover, there isn’t a shred of criminality and the Republicans know it.
While a Republican President spent months minimizing the pandemic and threatening to short change New York when it came to PPEs, these same Republicans sat silent. While a Republican President spent 11 weeks lying to the nation about a “stolen election,” Minority Leader Will Barclay could not be found. Then, when that Republican President was found to have fomented an insurrection against the government, according to his own Party’s Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, resulting in the deaths of three police officers with many others wounded, Barclay issued no statement.
Now, while casting a blind eye to the gross malfeasance of the President of his own Party, Barclay and the Assembly Republicans have the gross audacity to attack a Governor who has spent the last year working vigilantly to save lives as New York has been under attack from a worldwide pandemic. Instead of fixating on post-event reporting, had Barclay and the Assembly Republicans been half as attentive to Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which he long referred to as nothing but a “Democrat hoax,” perhaps lives could have actually been saved in real time."
New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay S. Jacobs
Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs also responding to the federal probe. Jacobs issued the following statement:
“For weeks, I have called for a full federal investigation into Governor Cuomo and his staff for their actions to cover-up the disastrous impacts of the Governor’s directive forcing COVID positive patients back into nursing homes. This investigation is long overdue but necessary to the grieving families who have been cast aside, smeared, and talked down to by this Governor for simply seeking answers surrounding the death of a loved one. “I will keep working tirelessly until we have these answers. This investigation should leave no stone unturned and thoroughly examine the deliberate and willful action to withhold information from federal prosecutors and the public. The Governor’s actions represent one of the greatest betrayals of public trust during this pandemic. He must be held accountable."
Congressman Chris Jacobs, NY-27