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Cuomo says he "never touched anyone inappropriately," Biden calls on him to resign

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Special Report: Biden calls on Cuomo to resign
Special Report: Biden calls on Cuomo to resig... 33:51

President Biden said Tuesday afternoon that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign after a bombshell investigation by the state attorney general found he had sexually harassed multiple current and former staffers, as well as women who did not work for his administration. Cuomo insisted that he "never touched anyone inappropriately" or "made inappropriate sexual advances."

Biden's comments came after several prominent Democrats called for Cuomo to resign, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York. 

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the findings of the investigation earlier Tuesday and said the governor "violated federal and state law." The probe found a "hostile" and "unsafe" work environment in which women, including a state trooper assigned to the governor's detail, described "inappropriate groping" and sexual harassment, James said.

She called the 11 women who came forward "heroic." 

"I am inspired by the women who came forward, but more importantly I believe them, and I thank them for their bravery," James said.

Cuomo, who made a pre-taped statement that aired after the findings were released Tuesday, said that "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed." 

"I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am, and that's not who I have ever been," the governor said in the statement.

"There are generational and cultural perspectives that frankly, I have not fully appreciated," Cuomo added. "I have learned from this."

In an interview with CBS "Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell, Charlotte Bennett, one of the 11 women who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, said that if the govenror isn't willing to resign, then "then we have a responsibility to act and impeach him."

"He's trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can't tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship and I think that's absolutely absurd," Bennett said.   

The investigation was civil in nature, but investigator Anne Clark noted that state and federal prosecutors are free to review all the allegations included in the report. She added that one allegation was referred by the governor's Executive Chamber to police in Albany, New York.

Andrew Cuomo
In this image taken from video provided by Office of the NY Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a statement on a pre-recorded video released on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, in New York. Office of the NY Governor via AP
 

Watch full interview: Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett reacts to results of sexual harassment probe

Cuomo accuser reacts to results of sexual har... 08:24

Charlotte Bennett, one of nearly a dozen women to accuse New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, spoke to "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell about her reaction to the results of the sexual harassment probe. Watch more of her remarks here.  

 

Ocasio-Cortez says Cuomo "should absolutely resign"

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday that Cuomo "should absolutely resign."

"I spoke to this when the allegations first came out," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I believe that the six corroborating accounts that originally arose at the beginning of this year. Again, different accounts that were corroborating along with journalistic corroboration of the facts of the account, I felt like it was enough for him to resign then. Now with the attorney general's report not only affirming those six accounts but adding even more including the assault of a New York state trooper, I think that  —harassment of a New York state trooper, I think is absolutely important."

By Zak Hudak
 

Andrew Cuomo investigation reveals New York governor sexually harassed multiple women

Investigation alleges Cuomo sexually harassed... 04:41

The calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are growing louder after an investigation accuses him of sexually harassing at least 11 women. Jericka Duncan reports.

 

Cuomo accuser calls for his impeachment, says "we have a responsibility to act"

Exclusive: Cuomo accuser on governor denying ... 03:16

Charlotte Bennett, one of 11 women accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual misconduct, demanded his resignation Tuesday after an independent investigation found that he sexually harassed multiple women. In an exclusive interview with "CBS Evening News," Bennett urged officials to begin impeachment proceedings if Cuomo refuses to step down. 

"He's trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can't tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship and I think that's absolutely absurd,"  Bennett told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell. 

"We have the report. We have the facts. The governor broke federal and state law when he sexually harassed me and current and former staffers and we have a responsibility to take the set of facts — and if he's not willing to step down, then we have a responsibility to act and impeach him." 

Read the full interview here

 

N.Y. Assembly speaker says Cuomo "can no longer remain in office"

New York Assembly speaker Carl Heastie on Tuesday afternoon issued his second statement of the day on Cuomo, saying the chamber will move "expeditiously" in the impeachment inquiry once they have all the relevant documents.

"After our conference this afternoon to discuss the Attorney General's report concerning sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, it is abundantly clear to me that the Governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office," Heastie said in a statement.

By Caroline Linton
 

President of powerful 32BJ union says they are breaking ties with Cuomo

The president of the powerful SEIU 32BJ union says his organization is breaking ties with Cuomo after Attorney General Letitia James released a report that found Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple current and former staffers. 

32BJ President Kyle Bragg said in a statement that the union stands "with women and all victims of sexual assault" and was "sadly disappoitned by the details" in James' report.  

"Creating work environments where sexual harassment is not tolerated is not a matter of politics, but principle, from which no one should be exempted," Bragg said. "We urge the Governor to resign and to take responsibility for his well-documented actions and how they have hurt women, and those who have devoted themselves to advance the interests of all New Yorkers. And if the Governor does not resign, we will support the state legislature's actions to bring accountability to the office with all deliberate speed."

By Adam Brewster
 

Biden calls on Cuomo to resign

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, President Biden called on Cuomo to step down.

"I think he should resign," Mr. Biden said. 

He did not say whether he believes Cuomo should be prosecuted. 

"What I said was, if the investigation of the attorney general concluded that the allegations were correct — back in March — that I would recommend he should resign," Mr. Biden said. "That's what I'm doing today. I have not read the report, I don't know the details of it, all I know is the end result." 

By Caroline Linton
 

CNN's Chris Cuomo advised his brother on allegation response, report says

CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo was among a "team of advisors" who helped shape his brother's response to sexual assault allegations, according to the office of the New York State Attorney General, which also said Chris Cuomo provided testimony for their recent investigation. 

The Attorney General's report cited Chris Cuomo's involvement, labeling him as one of an "inner circle of confidantes brought in to control and direct the response" after allegations surfaced. The report said he was one of multiple such advisors with no official role in the governor's Executive Chamber. 

"Nonetheless," the report said of the outside advisors, "they were regularly provided with confidential and often privileged information about state operations and helped make decisions that impacted State business and employees—all without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State. The common thread among all of these individuals was a proven, personal loyalty to the Governor."

In their report, the Attorney General's office wrote that the governor's advisors, including Chris Cuomo, initially counseled the governor to express contrition after former aide Charlotte Bennett came forward with her allegations.

After The Washington Post reported in May that Chris Cuomo had participated in conference calls with his brother's staff, Chris Cuomo apologized for getting involved.

"When my brother's situation became turbulent, being looped into calls with other friends of his and advisors that did include some of his staff, I understand why that was a problem for CNN. It will not happen again. It was a mistake," Chris Cuomo said.

Chris Cuomo has previously said he would not cover the allegations against his brother on his show, because of the conflict of interest. CNN had allowed Andrew Cuomo to appear on Chris' show when New York was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and the journalist contracted the virus.

By Cassidy McDonald
 

N.Y. lieutenant governor says it would "not be appropriate" for her to comment

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who would take over if Cuomo were to resign, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that it would "not be appropriate" for her to comment on the investigation. 

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace, and certainly not in public service," Hochul wrote. "The AG's investigation has documented repulsive & unlawful behavior by the Governor towards multiple women. I believe these brave women & admire their courage coming forward. No one is above the law. Under the New York Constitution, the Assembly will now determine the next steps."

Hochul said it would "not be appropriate" for her to comment further because she is "next in the line of succession."

In 2008, then-Lieutenant Governor David Paterson took over when New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned after revelations of his involvement with prostitutes. 

By Caroline Linton
 

N.Y. Democrats say Cuomo should resign

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who both represent New York, released a joint statement again calling on Cuomo to resign. They had also asked for his resignation back in March, when the allegations first came to light. 

"The governor violated state and federal law, had a pattern of sexually harassing current and former employees, retaliated against at least one of the accusers and created a hostile work environment," Schumer told CBS News' Nikole Killion Tuesday. "No elected official is above the law. The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor's office. We continue to believe that the governor should resign."

When pressed further by Killion and other reporters, Schumer repeated that he continues "to believe the governor should resign."

All 19 members of New York's House delegation also called on Cuomo to resign. 

Nikole Killion, Jack Turman, Zachary Hudak  

 

Biden to speak about Cuomo allegations this afternoon, White House confirms

President Biden will address the allegations against the New York governor later this afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during her daily press briefing. 

"I don't know anyone who could have watched this morning and not found the allegations abhorrent," Psaki said. "I certainly know I did."

Cuomo was one of the earliest and most prominent backers of Mr. Biden's campaign for president.

When pressed by several reporters, Psaki insisted Mr. Biden would be speaking later this afternoon.

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo says he will not be "distracted" from his job as governor

Cuomo insisted he will not be "distracted" by the allegations and will continue to do his job as governor. 

"We have a lot to do," he said. "We still have to manage the COVID beast. It is not dead yet. It's not over. We then have to reopen and reimagine our state because our future is going to be what we can make it. I know we can do these things because I know the strength and character of New Yorkers." 

Cuomo then pivoted to discussing the COVID-19 recovery in New York.  

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo addresses allegations of an abusive workplace

The governor said his office is a "demanding place to work, and that it is not for everyone."

"We work really, really hard," Cuomo said. "My office is no typical nine-to-five government office and I don't want it to be. The stakes we deal with are very high, sometimes even life or death. We have to get the job done. I promised you that I would, and I will."

A number of complaints target female managers, which "smacks to me as a double standard," Cuomo said. 

He said male managers were never criticized for working long hours or holding people accountable or for "being tough." 

"Also, remember where we are," he said. "Today, we are living in a super heated, if not toxic, political environment. That shouldn't be lost on anyone. Politics and bias are interwoven into every aspect of this situation. One would be naive to think otherwise. And New Yorkers are not naive." 

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo says "I now understand there are generational or cultural perspectives that frankly I hadn't fully appreciated"

After explaining that he kisses people on the cheek and forehead as a way to "connect" with and "show my appreciation and friendship" for people, Cuomo insisted "I am the same person in public that I am in private." 

"I now understand there are generational or cultural perspectives that frankly I hadn't fully appreciated, and I have learned from this," he said.

He said the state already has an advanced sexual harassment training program for all employees, including him. However, Cuomo has brought in an expert to design new sexual harassment policies and procedures and to train the whole team, himself included, on the new measures. 

"I accept responsibility, and we are making changes," the governor said. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo addresses allegations he groped a woman in governor's mansion, but says he is limited in what he can say

Cuomo also responded to the allegations that he groped a staffer at the governor's office. He said that because the accuser wished to remain anonymous, he is "limited in what I can say." But he disclosed the accuser's lawyer has suggested she will file a claim for damages.

"That will be decided in a court of law," Cuomo said. "Trial by newspaper or biased reviews are not the way to find the facts in this matter. I welcome the opportunity for a full and fair review before a judge and jury because this just did not happen."

He said the other complaints sought to "unfairly characterize and weaponize everyday interactions that I had with everyday New Yorkers." He slammed a photo The New York Times published of him with his hands on a young woman's face, saying he learned the gesture from his mother and father. 

"I do it with everyone," he said, before showing a slideshow of him kissing people on the cheek and holding their faces. 

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo says to Bennett: "I want you to know that I am truly and deeply sorry"

Cuomo said he "heard Charlotte and her lawyer, and understand what they are saying," but he said they are drawing inferences that he never meant and ascribing motives he never had. 

"Simply put, they heard things I just did not say," the governor said.

"Charlotte, I want you to know that I am truly and deeply sorry," he added. "I brought my personal experience into the workplace, and I shouldn't have done that. I was trying to help. Obviously I didn't. I am even more sorry that I further complicated the situation. My goal was the exact opposite. I wish nothing but good for you and for all survivors of sexual assault."

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo says people have asked him "why did I even engage" with Charlotte Bennett

Cuomo described Bennett, the 25-year-old former aide, as "smart, talented and eager to learn." He said she had come to work in the administration "because of the progress we had made" on sexual assault.

"People now ask me why was I even talking to this young woman if I knew she was dealing with such issues? Why did I even engage with her?" Cuomo said. "That is the obvious and fair question that I have thought a lot about. The truth is, her story resonated deeply with me."

The governor said he has a family member who is a survivor of sexual assault, and he has "watched her live and suffer with the trauma, and I would do anything to make it go away for her. But it never really goes away."

Cuomo said he felt he had failed his family member, and "this young woman brought it all back."

By Caroline Linton
 

Cuomo: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

 Immediately after coming out to speak at the governor's mansion, Cuomo said he had "never touched anyone inappropriately." 

"The facts are much different than what has been portrayed," Cuomo said in a live-streamed speech at the governor's mansion. "That document is available on my website. If you are interested, please take the time to read the facts and decide for yourself. First, I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances. I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am."

By Caroline Linton
 

Charlotte Bennett tweets "resign"

Charlotte Bennett, the former Cuomo aide who accused him of sexual harassment and whose allegations are detailed in James' report, tweeted Tuesday for him to resign.

"Resign, @NYGovCuomo," she wrote at 11:39 a.m., shortly after the report came out.

By Caroline Linton
 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, other lawmakers call for Cuomo to resign

 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and a number of prominent lawmakers renewed their calls for Cuomo to resign. 

"The summary you just gave represents behavior that is unacceptable, unacceptable to anyone, especially in a public servant," de Blasio said during a remote press conference, according to the New York Post.

New York state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also repeated her earlier calls for Cuomo to resign. "Now that the investigation is complete and the allegations have been substantiated, it should be clear to everyone that he can no longer serve as Governor," Stewart-Cousins said. 

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie called the findings of the report "disturbing," CBS New York reports.

"The details provided by the victims are gut-wrenching. Our hearts go out to all the individuals who have had to endure this horrible experience," he said in a statement. "The conduct by the Governor outlined in this report would indicate someone who is not fit for office." 

By Caroline Linton
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