New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday sought to make clear that he supports the presidential impeachment investigation, a clarification that came a day after he said the “quote unquote inquiry” was opened because of pressure from “leftist” Democrats.
In a statement, the governor’s office said Cuomo’s position had been “misrepresented” and that, despite his harsh words at an event Thursday night with former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the Democrat believes Speaker Nancy Pelosi “must proceed with an impeachment investigation as a matter of constitutional duty.”
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“It is no longer an option or a political decision: the House must investigate,” spokesperson Dani Lever said in a statement to POLITICO. “The Governor has further said, which is also indisputable, that early calls for impeachment from the far left flank members of the caucus were more aggressive, and Nancy Pelosi was taking a deliberative path which the Governor agreed with.
“However, that all changed once the Ukraine revelations came to light,” she said. “Now, there’s no question that the investigation must follow all leads.”
On Thursday evening, during a one-on-one conversation with Christie that took place at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, N.J., Cuomo did not once say he supported the investigation, instead predicting it would create gridlock in Washington and that it would not end with President Donald Trump being removed from office.
In what appeared at the time to be a reversal of his comments from Wednesday, when he said “you’re darn right there should be an inquiry,” Cuomo told Christie the nation was headed “down a very long and unproductive road.”
Cuomo did not comment during the event about the substance of the whistleblower complaint or the partial transcript of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, merely saying “the Ukraine issue raises a lot of questions” and that an investigatory committee could spend months, “one witness after another, one witness after another, on all sort of different tracks.”
“Where does it go, ultimately? Nowhere, because even if they vote for impeachment, it goes to the Senate,” he told Christie, who hosted the event as the first in a series about civility and bipartisanship in politics.
In her statement Friday, Lever said Cuomo had previously made his position clear and has not changed his mind about the need for an inquiry.
“The Governor strongly believes that the paths to investigate must include the allegations of the President’s solicitation of foreign assistance, the President’s abuse of power in effectively extorting the Ukrainian president with federal funds, the reported cover up by the Attorney General of a complaint that implicated Barr himself, and the tampering with government documents in the attempt to secret the transcripts,” she said.