- In the early days of the pandemic, many hailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York as a hero.
- Now, the FBI and a US attorney’s office are investigating Cuomo’s administration over the handling of nursing homes.
- New York Democrats are also working to strip Cuomo of the emergency powers he received last spring.
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After being hailed as a hero in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York is now facing an investigation into his administration by federal prosecutors, and an attempt by his fellow Democratic state lawmakers to strip him of his emergency powers.
Cuomo has faced increasing scrutiny from lawmakers over recent reports that his administration withheld data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes and severely undercounted nursing-home deaths. The fallout is connected to an advisory issued in March, which said nursing homes could not deny residents for being coronavirus positive.
Now, the FBI and the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York are investigating the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, the Times Union reported. The US attorney’s investigation is part of an inquiry into the top members of Cuomo’s coronavirus task force, though specific people have not been named.
The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.
“As we publicly said, DOJ has been looking into this for months,” Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, told the Times Union. “We have been cooperating with them and we will continue to.”
Lawmakers in New York from Cuomo’s own party are also pushing back against the governor. Top Democrats in the New York State Senate are trying to remove Cuomo’s emergency powers that he was granted in the early days of the pandemic, The New York Times reported.
The measure, which could come to a vote next week, emerged over a report that Cuomo lashed out at a local lawmaker for criticising his pandemic response.
Assemblyman Ron Kim, who is one of the Democrats supporting the effort to strip Cuomo’s emergency powers, said Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him if he did not “cover up” for the governor,CNN reported. Cuomo’s advisor denied Kim’s accusation.
Cuomo has been dismissive of the criticism lobbied against him. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the governor accused former President Donald Trump, Fox News, and the New York Post of conspiring against him.
He also defended his actions on nursing homes, saying his decisions were based on federal guidance, a claim that PolitiFact has rated “mostly false.”