Democrats Split From Cuomo as Impeachment Inquiry Looms

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It’s Friday.

Weather: Scattered showers early, then the skies will clear; high in the mid-60s. Nice all weekend but cooler, with highs in the low 50s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 28 (Passover).

New York State lawmakers, many of them Democrats, opened an impeachment inquiry into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday, signaling that members of the governor’s party were abandoning him amid a series of sexual harassment allegations.

The State Assembly announced that its judiciary committee would have broad jurisdiction to investigate sexual harassment claims against the governor, as well as his administration’s handling of data about coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes, before deciding whether to open impeachment proceedings.

The growing support for the inquiry, and calls for the governor’s resignation, could signify a bleak political future for Mr. Cuomo, whose decade-long tenure has been defined by an often-intimidating approach that has alienated potential allies whom he now needs.

[The governor faces a new threat: an impeachment inquiry led by Democrats.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The accusations

Six women, some of them current or former state employees, say that Mr. Cuomo sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately with them.

The Albany police said that the most recent accusation might have reached the “level of a crime.”

Mr. Cuomo has apologized for workplace remarks that may have upset colleagues, but he has denied touching anyone inappropriately.

In the controversy over nursing home deaths, recent reporting by The New York Times indicated that members of Mr. Cuomo’s administration spent months obscuring the number of people who died in them.

The political ramifications

Many Democratic state lawmakers have been leery of openly challenging Mr. Cuomo. But now the compounding scandals are interfering with government operations, like passing a new budget, and political pressure on the governor is growing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation yesterday, as did 59 Democratic members of the State Legislature — about 40 percent of the party’s members in the Assembly and Senate — before the investigation was announced.

“He no longer has the credibility to lead or to govern effectively,” Assemblyman Jonathan G. Jacobson, a Democrat, told my colleagues Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jesse McKinley and J. David Goodman on Thursday.

The context

Mr. Cuomo has said that he will not resign, but impeachment proceedings might change his thinking. Eliot L. Spitzer, the last governor of New York to resign, in 2008, only did so after the Legislature began to draw up articles of impeachment.

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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Families of people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, will resume reading the victims’ names out loud this year on the anniversary of the terror attack. [Daily News]

An advocacy group has charged that New York State’s vaccine passport app could promote “digitized segregation.” [Gothamist]

What we’re watching: The Times’s Albany bureau chief, Jesse McKinley, and the Metro political reporter Dana Rubinstein discuss the pressure building on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]

Understand the Scandals Challenging Gov. Cuomo’s Leadership

The three-term governor is confronting two crises simultaneously:

    • Several women, including current and former members of his administration, have accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. He has refused to resign. An independent inquiry, overseen by the New York State attorney general, may take months.
    • The Cuomo administration is also under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, a scandal that deepened after a recent Times investigation found that aides rewrote a health department report to hide the real number. Several senior health officials resigned recently in response to the governor’s overall handling of the pandemic, including the vaccine rollout.
    • On March 11, the State Assembly announced it would open an impeachment investigation while about 40 percent of the Democrats in the State Legislature signed a statement calling on Mr. Cuomo to resign.

    And finally: Your virtual social weekend

    The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

    Although many performance spaces, museums and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

    Book event: ‘Come Fly the World’

    On Friday at 7 p.m., join the writer and historian Catherine Grace Katz in conversation with Julia Cooke, the author of “Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am.”

    Register for free on the event page.

    Lecture: The history of computers

    Learn about the history of early computers and the women (including a few from Queens) who helped make them, in a Queens Historical Society lecture on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

    R.S.V.P. for free on the event page.

    F*It Club’s ‘Film Race’

    On Sunday at 5 p.m., watch a screening of short films made over the course of 72 hours, as part of the N.Y.C. Indie Theater Film festival. A guest jury will determine a winner.

    Purchase tickets ($12) for the Zoom livestream on the event page.

    It’s Friday — don’t hesitate to take off.

    Metropolitan Diary: Saturday matinee

    Dear Diary:

    It was the mid-1960s, and I was an acting student at the High School of Performing Arts. I had an after-school job at Bond clothing store, and sometimes before going to work I would stop at a luncheonette nearby.

    Once, when I was at the counter having toast and coffee, a somewhat scruffy-looking older man came in, sat on the stool next to mine and ordered coffee.

    Feeling sorry for him, I asked if I could pay for his coffee. He smiled and thanked me. For the next little while, we talked, or, more accurately, he asked questions and I talked, thrilled to be telling someone about my plans for a future on Broadway.

    When it was time to leave, he smiled kindly and asked whether I had seen “Man of La Mancha.”

    When I said that I hadn’t, he said there would be a ticket waiting for me at the box office for the matinee that Saturday and that I should come backstage after the show.

    Excited, and a bit puzzled, I left the diner figuring that he must work at the theater.

    True to his word, there was a ticket in my name when I arrived at the box office on Saturday. And not in the upper balcony as I had expected, but a house seat close enough to the stage for me to recognize that scruffy older man as Robert Rounseville, who was playing the role of the Padre.

    I did indeed go backstage after the show, where this gracious actor introduced me to the other cast members and gave me what, all these years later, is still one of my sweetest memories.

    — Susan Hopkins

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