New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigns

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 7:25 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021
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7:25 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Here's what we know about Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

(Seth Wenig/AP)
(Seth Wenig/AP)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he will resign, relinquishing under extraordinary pressure his decade-long grip on power and heading off a potential impeachment by New York's Democratic-led legislature a week after the release of a report by the state attorney general that found he had sexually harassed 11 women.

"Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing," Cuomo said in remarks from New York City. "Therefore that's what I'll do."

The son of another three-term governor, the New York Democrat indicated his announcement would take effect in two weeks. He will hand over the reins to his deputy of seven years, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native who is now poised to become the state's first female governor. Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will replace Hochul — meaning the state's three highest offices will all be held, at least until Hochul appoints her own replacement, by women.

In the seven days since New York state Attorney General Letitia James made her report public, Cuomo faced new and more adamant calls to step down from both state and national Democrats. He initially pushed back, seeking more time, against the advice of trusted aides but ultimately relented and decided to resign before state lawmakers could begin a process that would likely have made him the first New York governor to be impeached in more than a century.

The announcement capped a remarkable fall for the governor, who was lauded for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 only to see his administration swallowed up in scandal — over his alleged sexual misbehavior, the underreporting of nursing home deaths related to the coronavirus and his potential abuse of public resources as he wrote a book last year about the pandemic in New York.

As his handling of the pandemic came under increasing scrutiny, including through an ongoing federal inquiry, a series of reports about his personal behavior left him politically stricken. Even now, as he prepares to leave office, Cuomo could potentially face criminal charges related to the allegations against him. He is also being sued by one his accusers, former aide Lindsey Boylan.

Cuomo has denied all of the allegations, saying he never touched anyone inappropriately, but acknowledged that some of his behavior made others uncomfortable.

He continued to skirt the line between apology and excuses during his remarks on Tuesday, thanking the women who came forward with "sincere" complaints, but — as he did earlier this year — he insisted that he was, politically, the victim of evolving social norms.

"In my mind, I've never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn," Cuomo said. "There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn't fully appreciate. And I should have — no excuses."

Read more about Cuomo's resignation here.

4:05 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Biden: "I respect the governor's decision" to resign

(Evan Vucci/AP)
(Evan Vucci/AP)

President Biden told reporters Tuesday that he respects Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to step down.

"I respect the governor's decision. I respect the decision he made," Biden said after delivering remarks to mark the Senate's passage of a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Asked what impact Cuomo's resignation has on the Democratic party, Biden said, "I think the impact is all on Andrew Cuomo."

In another question, Biden was asked to assess how Cuomo has performed as governor over the past decade he's been in office.

"He's done a hell of a job. Both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure, to a whole range of things. That's why it's so sad," Biden said.

Some context: After the New York attorney general's report on sexual harassment and Cuomo was released last week, Biden said he thought that the governor should resign. Months earlier, Biden said that if the attorney general's investigation proved the allegations against Cuomo to be true that he thought the governor should resign.

2:51 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

NY Judiciary Committee looking into whether Cuomo impeachment is possible following resignation, sources say

From CNN's Paul Murphy

Two members of the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee told CNN that the committee’s lawyers are looking into whether or not they can impeach Gov. Andrew Cuomo now that he has announced his resignation. They plan to move forward with their planned meeting this Monday to discuss the next steps, the two members said.

Both members are adamant the plan is to deliver reports on the four scandals surrounding the governor that the Assembly tasked them with handling.  

The Judiciary Committee, both assembly members say, has already been investigating four areas: the sexual harassment allegations, deaths in nursing homes from Covid-19, usurping state resources for personal gain, and allegations of a cover-up over damaged bridge bolts on the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

1:59 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

These DA's criminal investigations into Andrew Cuomo will continue

From CNN's Julian Cummings and Mark Morales

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to board a helicopter after announcing his resignation on Tuesday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to board a helicopter after announcing his resignation on Tuesday. (Seth Wenig/AP)

At least two of the New York state district attorney's offices investigating possible criminal actions by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will continue their work after he announced his resignation.

Brendan Brosh, a spokesperson for the Nassau County DA's office said today, “Our investigation continues."

Albany DA spokesperson Cecilia Walsh said their office's inquiry into possible criminal conduct in their jurisdiction "remains open and pending.”

Some context: Nassau and Albany counties are among at least four district attorney’s offices in the state who have requested additional investigative information from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report on the probe into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.

1:50 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

New York State trooper union says it's "unfortunate" Cuomo apology took so long

From CNN's Sonia Moghe and Mark Morales 

The union that represents New York State troopers says that they appreciate Cuomo’s apology to their “fellow trooper” but that it is unfortunate it took him so long to do so, according to a statement from the New York State Police Investigators Association. 

“The Governor made the right decision as he could no longer effectively lead the state. While we appreciate that he apologized to our fellow trooper, it’s unfortunate that it took him so long to do so. We hope that he, and everyone can learn from this sad episode in the NY history,” the statement said. 

The New York State troopers themselves declined to comment directly to Cuomo’s apology and resignation.

Some background: A New York state trooper, who was a member of Cuomo’s protective detail, was among those alleging harassment. You can read more about those allegations here.

1:55 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

New York attorney general says Cuomo's resignation "closes a sad chapter" for the state

New York Attorney General Letitia James looks on during a press conference in New York on May 21.
New York Attorney General Letitia James looks on during a press conference in New York on May 21. (Richard Drew/AP)

On the heels of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation, state Attorney General Letitia James said “today closes a sad chapter for all of New York.”

Her team lead the investigation into the governor which ultimately found that he sexually harassed multiple women.

She thanked Cuomo for his contributions to the state, and said the ascension of Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will help the state “enter a new day.”

“We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state," James said.

2:12 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

2 women will soon hold the highest positions of power in New York state 

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

From left, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
From left, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. (Getty Images/Reuters)

Two women are poised to hold the highest political positions in New York state government, a first for the state.

With Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul set to assume the role as governor in 14 days – becoming the first female governor to lead the state – New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins would would take on the active duties of New York’s lieutenant governor until Hochul names her own replacement. 

Stewart-Cousins, who called for Cuomo’s resignation months ago and again on the heels of the attorney general's report, said in a statement:

“Today is a somber day for the state of New York, but one that demonstrates our ability to build a more accountable system of government. Governor Cuomo’s resignation opens the door to a restorative future. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the courageous women who came forward and helped pave the way for safer and more inclusive work spaces. Working with Governor Kathy Hochul, the first woman Governor of New York State, we will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy and face our challenges standing together. Governor Hochul is a dedicated leader, and united, we will get the people’s work done.”

1:25 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

Cuomo is resigning but not taking responsibility for "everything he's accused of," says WSJ reporter

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resignation is a move to protect his political legacy says Catherine Lucey, a White House reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

"He's resigning, but he's not accepting the conclusions of the report. He's not taking responsibility for everything he's accused of. He really is... trying to frame this as a generational divide, that he was trying to be friendly, that he never thought he overstepped any lines. But the accusations and the claims by these women are serious, they're consistent, they're sweeping and there's overwhelming amount of evidence here," Lucey told CNN's John King following Cuomo's announcement.

The reporter said there's a disconnect with the message Cuomo is trying to push, "which does not deal with what the New York attorney general's report details.

"He's not really grappling with that. And so, we do have this moment of disconnect here where is both acknowledging he needs to step aside, but in some ways for political reasons and is trying to preserve his political legacy in the process right? ... It's hard to do both things, it's hard to say that you've been this champion and yet grapple with this report," she said.

1:22 p.m. ET, August 10, 2021

"Me Too" founder condemns Cuomo for blaming his actions on "generational and cultural shifts"

From CNN's Alyssa Kraus

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

"Me Too" founder Tarana Burke condemned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation speech after the governor blamed "generational and cultural shifts" for the sexual harassment allegations against him.

"I have done it all my life. It's who I have been since I can remember. In my mind, I have never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn," Cuomo said. "There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn't fully appreciate – and I should have. No excuses."

In response, Burke took to Twitter, saying "it's not true" that the rules have changed over time.

"This 'generational difference' and 'rules have changed' nonsense is WRONG. The *rules* have NOT changed. It was WRONG 50 years ago and today. The difference is there were few paths to accountability years ago," she wrote in a tweet.

According to Burke, it is not the rules that have changed but the attention to the subject.

"The rule of 'keep your hands to yourself' is universal. We all learned that in Kindergarten," she continued in a Twitter thread. "Nothing is NEW here. Women didn’t JUST start fighting back and speaking up. We just finally found a frequency that folks can hear us more clearly on."