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New York State Assembly Speaker Authorizes Impeachment Inquiry Into Governor Cuomo

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is now facing an investigation that could lead to his impeachment. And it's being led by members of his own party. Yesterday, the state Assembly's leading Democrat authorized the beginning of an inquiry into the growing number of allegations of misconduct by Cuomo. WNYC's Brigid Bergin joins us now with more. Brigid, thanks for being here. New allegations keep coming out against the governor. His own party now appears to be turning against him. It feels like a tipping point of some kind.

BRIGID BERGIN, BYLINE: It's true. Just yesterday, the latest allegation against the governor was shared with the Albany Police Department, and that could trigger a criminal investigation. So far, six women have come forward alleging Governor Cuomo engaged in sexual misconduct, including five women who worked with him. The most recent allegation was reported by the Albany Times Union. A young staffer from his team was summoned to his residence in Albany under the pretense of helping him with his phone. She alleges that when she was in a room with him, he reached under her blouse and fondled her. This allegation directly contradicts his earlier statements, where he apologized if he had offended other women who had come forward. And he had made a point of saying he had never physically touched anyone. It's also important to know that Cuomo has enjoyed long support among Democrats in the legislature, and that is breaking up. It really feels like the start of a reckoning.

MARTIN: There's also an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James. How do the two investigations affect one another?

BERGIN: So she's made clear that no matter what other investigations ensue and regardless of whether Cuomo remains in office or not, her team will conduct a full and thorough investigation. Just yesterday, they set up a new website, agindependentinvestigation.com. So if any other individuals want to come forward, they can find out exactly how to do it.

MARTIN: What is the governor himself saying?

BERGIN: He hasn't spoken publicly since Tuesday, which was before the latest allegation was made, the sixth women came forward or before this new assembly investigation was authorized. His latest statement was released on Wednesday night where, again, he denied anything like this has ever happened.

MARTIN: So what's the timeline as we look forward, Brigid? What happens next?

BERGIN: Well, this assembly investigation should begin soon, though it's not clear how long that might take. But there's mounting pressure on lawmakers to act. And that will be especially true if more allegations emerge. We're waiting to hear a response from Governor Cuomo either addressing the latest allegations or possibly by heeding calls for his resignation.

MARTIN: WNYC's senior political correspondent, Brigid Bergin, thank you so much.

BERGIN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.