Politics Rep. Stefanik: Garland’s Answer about Cuomo Investigation ‘Not Good Enough’
The swift rise and disastrous fall of Andrew Cuomo, America's wannabe Covid hero
Democrats need to reckon with the record of politicians on both sides of the aisle who have used Trump, the pandemic, or both to elevate their profile.Cuomo became a hero to Democrats across the country last spring, his stature on par with President Barack Obama, with live-streamed daily press briefings that projected steely resolve and paternal authority in the face of a deadly menace. The New York Times’ media columnist Ben Smith called him “the executive best suited to the coronavirus.” As the 2020 Democratic presidential primary dragged on, buzz circulated that Cuomo would be a better candidate than Biden.
Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) said Monday that Merrick Garland’s response to a question about a potential conflict of interest in any investigation of New York governor was “not good enough.”
During Garland’s confirmation hearing to be attorney general on Monday, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) asked the Biden nominee if he would “commit to not having the investigation done by a person with a conflict of interest.”
Elise Stefanik eyes bid to oust Andrew Cuomo
Rep. Elise Stefanik is mulling a bid for New York governor in 2022 as Republican insiders encourage the upstate congresswoman to challenge scandal-plagued Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. © Provided by Washington Examiner Cuomo is under fire by Democrats and Republicans in Albany, the state capital, because his administration willfully hid information surrounding coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes. The widening controversy has left Cuomo politically vulnerable, and some senior Republicans in Washington, D.C.
Cruz noted acting Manhattan U.S. attorney Audrey Strauss’s relationship to Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, as a potential concern. Strauss is the mother-in-law of DeRosa, who reportedly admitted recently that the administration covered up data on nursing-home deaths to hide the severity of the situation from federal authorities.
“With all of these investigations, the Justice Department is open to evidence of fraud, false statements, violations of the law,” Garland responded. “They normally begin in the appropriate way in the relevant U.S. Attorney’s office.”
“I don’t know any of the facts, but I can guarantee you somebody with a conflict of interest won’t be running an investigation of any kind,” he added.
Appearing on Fox News on Monday, Stefanik said the answer shows “he’s not reading the basic news.”
Rep. Stefanik Calls on Cuomo to Resign, Says Others Complicit in Alleged Harassment if They Don't
A former aide has accused the New York governor of repeated sexual harassment.Stefanik, a Republican representing New York's 21st District in Congress, said other elected officials should join her in calling for the Democratic governor's resignation. She added that those who do not will be "complicit in allowing a sexual predator to continue leading the great state of New York.
“As the American people are aware, this is a serious corruption scandal at the highest levels of New York State government,” she said. “We need a much clearer response from the nominee to be AG [committing to] making sure there is an independent apolitical, fair investigation. And when it comes to obstruction of justice, these are not just accusations Katie, this was caught on tape.”
She added: “It was caught on tape on a Zoom call with the members of the New York State Assembly, which is why it is Democrats as well who are speaking out about the need to have an independent federal investigation and also, some are proposing impeachment of the governor and the governor, I have said, should resign.”
Stefanik said the families of those who died in nursing homes “deserve a commitment from the AG nominee that this would be an independent investigation.”
“He’d better get up to speed quickly because that answer is not good enough for the American people,” she said.
Garland promises Andrew Cuomo nursing homes investigation won't be led by someone with conflict of interest
President Biden’s pick for attorney general largely avoided weighing in on the Justice Department’s investigation into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, though he promised that no one with a conflict of interest would lead such an inquiry. © Provided by Washington Examiner Judge Merrick Garland was pressed by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during his confirmation hearing on Monday about the FBI and the Brooklyn federal prosecutor’s office investigation into Cuomo’s nursing home orders and reports of a possible cover-up of nursing home death data during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawmakers of both parties have called for Cuomo to be stripped of the emergency powers granted to him last year at the beginning of the pandemic following DeRosa’s comments and a report issued by the New York attorney general Letitia James, which found that the state had undercounted nursing-home deaths by as much as 50 percent.
Cuomo last week blasted state lawmakers who have threatened to rescind his emergency powers and open investigations into his administration’s coverup of its mishandling of nursing-home coronavirus deaths.
“You can’t use a subpoena or the threat of investigation to leverage a person,” Cuomo said in a briefing. “That’s a crime, it’s called abuse of process, it’s called extortion.”
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Judge Merrick Garland was asked to define systemic racism, implicit bias and racism during the first day of his Senate confirmation hearing on Monday, and his answers laid out a stark contrast with the last Senate-confirmed attorney general from the Trump administration. © DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/AFP/POOL/Getty Images Judge Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be US Attorney General on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 22, 2021.