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Our view: NY Assembly dragging out impeachment probe
OUR VIEW

Our view: NY Assembly dragging out impeachment probe

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Imagine a person caught in the act of burglary in an area where there have been a rash of burglaries and thefts. Police won't wait to take that person into custody because they need to further investigate the other crimes. 

Because they have probable cause that this suspect has committed a crime, they make the arrest and then continue the probe to see if additional charges are warranted.

Such logic should be applied to the state Assembly's impeachment investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Instead, it seems that newly discovered impeachable offenses work in the governor's favor because it adds to the pile of matters the Assembly is reviewing.

Since the Assembly first announced an investigation into the sexual misconduct claims against Cuomo, the public has learned about additional troubling information related to the nursing home fatality data scandal, the governor's use of state employees for his personal book project and concerns about the handling of a major Hudson River project. Getting to the bottom of all of those issues could take a year or longer.

This needs to stop, and it should stop with an impeachment vote that removes the governor from the job until a Senate trial is held and a verdict is rendered. It's been two months since nearly every statewide elected official, all Democrats like the governor, called for him to resign after an avalanche of sexual harassment and assault allegations became public. A huge portion of the Democratic congressional delegation and Democratic members of the state Legislature also want him out.

The governor, though, has held firm that he's done nothing that warrants his resignation, despite the dysfunction his lack of governing support has already created.

We continue to see the situation the way we did in early March, when we called for Cuomo's immediate impeachment, citing the important difference with New York's impeachment process and that of the federal government. In New York, an impeached governor is immediately removed from the job (akin to an employee suspension, which would surely be put in place for any state worker facing accusations similar to those brought against Cuomo). Then the impeached governor gets due process via a Senate trial, and if the verdict is acquittal, that governor goes back on the job.

What New York needs right now is an executive branch leader who can run the state with support of all governing partners at the local, state and federal levels. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the person who would take over if Cuomo is impeached, can and should be that person. New York's Assembly leaders need to make that happen now.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Michelle Bowers, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.

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