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Attorney General Letitia James named a team of people Monday, headed by a former United States Attorney and an employment discrimination attorney, to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against Gov. Andrew Cuomo. CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports.
MARCIA KRAMER: It sounded a whole lot like a campaign appearance.
ANDREW CUOMO: You're still talking about hundreds of families affected every day. Do what you can to save lives. Take the vaccine.
MARCIA KRAMER: And in many ways it was a campaign. Not only a campaign to convince minority residents to get vaccinated, but a campaign to keep his job.
ANDREW CUOMO: I have no agenda besides representing the people of the state of New York.
MARCIA KRAMER: Cuomo had toured the Javits vaccination site-- no reporters allowed, no questions allowed-- as calls mounted for him to step aside. There are now five women accusing the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior-- four former staffers and a woman he met at a wedding.
Political experts tell CBS2 the governor appears to be following a playbook developed by both Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, following his blackface scandal. The strategy is to survive what seems like an unsurvivable crisis by trying to focus the public's attention on governing. In this case, the need to vaccinate members of the minority community and hope to wait out a scandal. Baruch College Professor David Birdsell draws the comparison to both Clinton and Northam.
DAVID BIRDSELL: And the question is, do the Democrats in the legislature, particularly the majority leader in the Senate and the speaker of the Assembly, make it possible for him to go through the motions of normal governance in this month? And, of course, this is the critical month with the budget due on the 31st.
MARCIA KRAMER: Meanwhile, several Republican assemblymen began circulating a petition to impeach Cuomo.
- The trust is gone. And to allow the governor to continue to wield that kind of power just can't happen and is not in the best interests of New Yorkers.
MARCIA KRAMER: It's unclear just what effect the petition will have. Sources tell me that if there is a decision to impeach the governor, it will be done by the Democrats, and they're apparently not there yet. I'm Marcia Kramer, CBS2 News.