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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo is reportedly still advising his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is facing immense fallout after the release of a state report detailing sexual harassment allegations by 11 women.
The nugget of information appeared in a Washington Post report about how the New York Assembly is moving forward with impeachment proceedings even as he denies the claims in Attorney General Letitia James's report and refuses to resign despite calls from high-profile Democrats, including President Joe Biden.
The report was published on Monday during a week in which Chris Cuomo is taking a vacation from his show, Cuomo Prime Time, which he said he always does in August to mark his birthday. The report also follows news that a top aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, had resigned, and the emergence of multiple district attorney investigations.
"Cuomo, who is ensconced in the governor’s mansion in Albany and has not been coming to the office, is left with few advisers. Rich Azzopardi, his longtime spokesman, has said he plans to stay in his post. The governor also continues to confer with longtime adviser Charlie King, a lobbyist at the public strategy firm Mercury, as well as his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, according to people familiar with the situation," the report said.
News reports in May revealed Chris Cuomo took part in a series of conference calls with the governor and several of his top aides and lawyers to craft a public relations strategy in response to the mounting allegations of sexual harassment, after which CNN said it was "inappropriate" for the anchor to participate.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo — on air or behind the scenes. In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother. However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward," the statement said. The network also said Cuomo would not be disciplined.
After CNN President Jeff Zucker reportedly told the anchor he should apologize on air, Cuomo expressed remorse on his show.
"I understand why that was a problem for CNN," he said on May 20. "It will not happen again. It was a mistake because I put my colleagues here, who I believe are the best in the business, in a bad spot. I never intended for that. I would never intend for that, and I am sorry for that."
A person familiar with the situation told the Washington Examiner on Monday that Chris Cuomo has not joined any meetings that involved his brother's team or offered advice in an official capacity to the governor since May, which is in line with the network's expectations.
Gov. Cuomo himself conceded in May that he spoke to his brother, along with others, to receive advice.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo via AP, left, and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
"I had conversations with my brother. I always have conversations with my brother because he's my brother and he's my best friend. Obviously, he was aware of what was going on, and I talked to him about it, and he told me his thoughts," Andrew Cuomo said. "He always tells me his thoughts ... But I talk to journalists about situations all the time, and they tell me their thoughts and their advice."
The brothers previously faced criticism for how Chris Cuomo frequently interviewed Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, but that has since stopped, and the anchor said he would no longer cover his sibling.
“The early months of the pandemic crisis were an extraordinary time. We felt that Chris speaking with his brother about the challenges of what millions of American families were struggling with was of significant human interest. As a result, we made an exception to a rule that we have had in place since 2013 which prevents Chris from interviewing and covering his brother, and that rule remains in place today. CNN has covered the news surrounding Governor Cuomo extensively," CNN said in February.
"Obviously, I'm aware of what's going on with my brother," Chris Cuomo said on March 1. "And obviously, I cannot cover it because he is my brother. Now, of course, CNN has to cover it. They have covered it extensively. And they will continue to do so. I have always cared very deeply about these issues, and profoundly so. I just wanted to tell you that."
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin