Cuomo: Pardoning Cohen should prompt impeachment

GEDDES, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Congress should impeach President Donald Trump if he pardons his attorney, Michael Cohen.

“Pardoning of Michael Cohen would be one of the grossest injustices we’ve ever seen. I think it would make Nixon — President Nixon — look like a juvenile offender,” Cuomo told reporters after opening the New York State Fair. “The concept that Michael Cohen is now implicating the president in a felony — Cohen is saying, ‘I committed a crime … at the direction of the president’ … he is also saying he will be fully cooperative with any law enforcement agent.”

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight felony counts, and said he made payments in 2016 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to influence the election “at the direction” of Trump.

The Democratic governor noted that on “Cuomo Prime Time,” which is hosted by his younger brother Chris, Continue reading “Cuomo: Pardoning Cohen should prompt impeachment”

As Trump and Republicans rage, Cuomo admits comment was ‘inarftul’

ALBANY — After two days of Republican attacks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted he was “inartful” when he said Wednesday that America was “never that great.”

But the Democratic New York governor, who is seeking a third term and positioning himself for a possible 2020 presidential bid, unleashed a new salvo of attacks against President Donald Trump, continuing a rhetorical spat that began on Monday when Trump attacked Cuomo during a trip to Utica.

“The expression I used the other day was inartful, so I want to be very clear: Of course America is great and of course America has always been great. No one questions that,” Cuomo told reporters on a conference call. “When Trump started talking about the slogan called ‘Make America Great Again,’ that what he believes establishes American greatness is not greatness at all.”

The governor explained that on Wednesday, he was emphasizing that the Continue reading “As Trump and Republicans rage, Cuomo admits comment was ‘inarftul’”

As Trump and Republicans rage, Cuomo admits comment was ‘inartful’

ALBANY — After two days of Republican attacks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted he was “inartful” when he said Wednesday that America was “never that great.”

But the Democratic New York governor, who is seeking a third term and positioning himself for a possible 2020 presidential bid, unleashed a new salvo of attacks against President Donald Trump, continuing a rhetorical spat that began on Monday when Trump attacked Cuomo during a trip to Utica.

“The expression I used the other day was inartful, so I want to be very clear: Of course America is great and of course America has always been great. No one questions that,” Cuomo told reporters on a conference call. “When Trump started talking about the slogan called ‘Make America Great Again,’ that what he believes establishes American greatness is not greatness at all.”

The governor explained that on Wednesday, he was emphasizing that the Continue reading “As Trump and Republicans rage, Cuomo admits comment was ‘inartful’”

Cuomo: America was ‘never that great’

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted Donald Trump during a bill-signing ceremony on Wednesday, twisting the president’s signature slogan as he made a point about the need for greater women’s equality.

“We’re not going to make America great again — it was never that great,” said Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term. “We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged. We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women — 51 percent of our population — is gone and every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed.”

The governor’s comments came two days after Trump, a fellow Queens native, publicly attacked him for the first time since becoming president. Trump said Cuomo promised he would never challenge him for the presidency in 2020; for much of 2017, the governor conspicuously did not attack the president by name. (A Cuomo spokesman Continue reading “Cuomo: America was ‘never that great’”

Rep. Chris Collins, fighting prosecution, seeks to end reelection bid

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was charged this week as part of an insider trading scheme, is suspending his re-election campaign and will attempt to remove his name from the ballot.

The third-term congressman announced the decision Saturday morning on Twitter, just days after he vowed to clear his name and remain on the ballot.

Collins is facing multiple counts of securities fraud, as well as charges of wire fraud and lying to investigators. His son and another associate were charged in the scheme as well.

Federal prosecutors allege Collins — who sits on the board of an Australian pharmaceutical company — shared non-public details about the failure of a multiple sclerosis drug in clinical trials. Using that information, Collins’ family members were able to sell off shares and avoid more than $760,000 in losses, prosecutors say.

Collins, the first member of congress to endorse President Donald Trump Continue reading “Rep. Chris Collins, fighting prosecution, seeks to end reelection bid”

Cuomo urges other states to hit NRA finances as group claims losses

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing governors in other states to target the National Rifle Association, which says it has suffered “tens of millions of dollars in damages” because of financial sanctions imposed in New York.

The gun-rights group sued Cuomo and his financial services superintendent in May, saying fines by the state Department of Financial Services were exacting a “political vendetta” by the Democratic governor that was having a chilling effect on its advocacy.

On Monday, Cuomo urged leaders in other states to take similar actions against the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program, which covers legal costs stemming from self-defense shootings, something New York argues is unlawful. The Department of Financial Services has also pushed firms not to do business with the NRA, it contends, under threat they could lose their license to operate in New York.

The effect of these moves and Cuomo’s public statements has been Continue reading “Cuomo urges other states to hit NRA finances as group claims losses”

Will corruption convictions stick to Cuomo? Don’t bet on it

ALBANY — Joe Percoco, Sheldon Silver, Alain Kaloyeros and Dean Skelos. Guilty, guilty, guilty and guilty.

A two-term governor whose tenure has coincided with a quartet of high-profile corruption convictions might normally be heading to defeat, if he decided to run at all.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was never accused of wrongdoing during the trials, continues to poll well as he seeks a third term this year. And he appears to be unconcerned about any possible electoral consequences arising from those trials.

“I think there has never been a suggestion that I did anything wrong,” the governor said last week in Brooklyn, asked if he thought the convictions would have an impact in either his primary contest against Cynthia Nixon or the general election in November.

First it was Percoco, Cuomo’s former campaign manager, close confidante and surrogate brother. Then, in trials reprising their 2015 convictions, it was Continue reading “Will corruption convictions stick to Cuomo? Don’t bet on it”

State tax department probing Trump Foundation

ALBANY — The state Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating the Trump Foundation and could refer its findings for criminal prosecution, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term, confirmed the probe but declined to discuss details after an event in Brooklyn. A source familiar with the probe told the New York Daily News that it is examining whether the foundation, started in 1987, violated the law by making improper asset transfers or misrepresentations about the associated tax liability.

“For the Trump Foundation, the law is the law. It doesn’t matter who you are, the law is the law,” Cuomo said.

James Gazzale, a spokesman for the tax department, declined to comment on the investigation.

The new probe comes about a month after Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued the Trump Foundation, President Donald Trump and three of his adult children, alleging they engaged in self-dealing Continue reading “State tax department probing Trump Foundation”

Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old who took out Joe Crowley

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a stunning primary upset Tuesday, is a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer — and she just won her first political campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez bested Crowley, 57-42, after campaigning on abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and pushing the Medicare-for-all bill carried by Sanders, the independent Vermont senator.

“We met a machine with a movement,” the stunned Ocasio-Cortez said on NY1, rendered speechless by the strength of her returns.

Born in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother, and graduated from Boston University.

Ocasio-Cortez was an organizer on Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, and PACs linked to Sanders’ bid supported Ocasio-Cortez, including Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. She was endorsed by Our Revolution, Democracy for America and the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

A majority of residents of the district, which includes parts of Continue reading “Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old who took out Joe Crowley”

Nixon hits a wall as Cuomo finds his footing

ALBANY — They must not read “The Nation” in the Bronx.

On the same day that the liberal magazine put Cynthia Nixon on its cover and endorsed her Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the actor rallied with volunteers in the state’s fifth-most populous county. Eleven people signed up.

After a rapid rise in the weeks following her March 19 announcement, a Siena College Research Institute poll released Tuesday showed her 35 points behind the two-term incumbent among likely Democratic general election voters, 61-26.

In the meantime, the governor’s team has found its footing and shored up institutional support. And Nixon has begun the far tougher task of turning fame and media buzz into a functioning campaign that will move voters in the state’s primary in September and lift her higher than the 30 percent plateau.

“It looks like things are not working out for her,” said New Continue reading “Nixon hits a wall as Cuomo finds his footing”

Despite pressure from his left, Cuomo resists calls for tax hikes

ALBANY — As he seeks to fend off an aggressive primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t bragging about tax cuts, as he did when he sought a second term four years ago. But, unlike his opponent, he is ignoring loud calls from progressives in his party to raise taxes for improvements to subway service or to increase education spending — priorities of the state’s institutional left.

The winner of this year’s gubernatorial race will have the strongest hand in deciding what to do about the millionaire’s tax, a levy of 8.82 percent on income over $1 million that brings in about $4.5 billion a year and is set to fall to 6.85 percent in 2020.

Nixon says she would increase the top tax rates, and, like Democrats who dominate the Assembly, she would add new brackets on even higher income bands. Cuomo, Continue reading “Despite pressure from his left, Cuomo resists calls for tax hikes”

Cuomo’s rivals say his #MeToo measures fall short

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era is coming under fire from both his Republican and Democratic opponents — including Cynthia Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” actor who is challenging him in the Democratic primary — as the incumbent campaigns for a third term and eyes a potential presidential bid.

Cuomo advocated for and signed new sexual harassment legislation, boasting last month that it’s “the strongest government sexual harassment policy in the United States” and saying that amid silence in Washington, “again New York is leading the way.” But his opponents, both of whom face an uphill battle against the governor, say he hasn’t done enough to change Albany’s patriarchal culture and hasn’t been aggressive enough in cutting ties with known harassers.

Nixon, who remained more than 20 points behind Cuomo in a recent poll, released a video last week juxtaposing Continue reading “Cuomo’s rivals say his #MeToo measures fall short”

Hillary Clinton endorses Cuomo, says he’s ‘getting things done’

HEMPSTEAD — Hillary Clinton backed Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a third term at the Democratic state convention Wednesday, praising the incumbent’s record in one of her first political appearances of this cycle.

"People in every corner of this state are mounting a massive resistance,” Clinton said, noting Cuomo’s work to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and his push to raise the minimum wage. “We need leaders who believe in producing results, and getting things done. Leaders like Andrew Cuomo and [Lt. Gov.] Kathy Hochul.”

Cuomo, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of President Bill Clinton, is facing a Democratic primary challenge from actor Cynthia Nixon. The incumbent governor was overwhelmingly nominated by the New York State Democratic Committee on Wednesday.

The speech reinforced Cuomo’s support from establishment Democrats who backed the former secretary of State in her most recent presidential Continue reading “Hillary Clinton endorses Cuomo, says he’s ‘getting things done’”

Preet Bharara being drafted for war on Trump

Preet Bharara is seeing all the texts, phone calls and DMs urging him to run for New York attorney general, including from some top operatives and Democratic donors. He’s hearing it from people coming up to him on the street.

And though Bharara is leaning against making a play for the job, according to three people close to him, the onetime powerhouse U.S. attorney fired by Donald Trump pointedly hasn’t said no, either. He wants to see how the next few weeks play out.

Among the people who’ve reached out, the sources said, are Mike Bloomberg consigliere Howard Wolfson and independent-minded GOP consultant John Weaver, along with a host of top Democratic operatives, donors and fundraisers.

“He’s the Eliot Ness that we need today,” said Weaver, who confirmed that he reached out to Bharara despite not previously knowing him. “I understand that he wouldn’t want to campaign, and it Continue reading “Preet Bharara being drafted for war on Trump”

Cuomo postpones Israel trip

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is postponing his planned trip to Israel amid ongoing violence on its border with Gaza, his spokeswoman said.

Cuomo, a Democrat seeking a third term in a contested race, said last week that he hoped to travel to Israel to show solidarity after forces allied with Iran launched missiles into the northern part of the Middle East nation.

The American decision to dedicate a new embassy in Jerusalem — which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital — has fueled violent demonstrations along the border between Gaza and Israeli Defense Forces in which the IDF has shot and killed dozens of protesters.

“Last week after missiles were fired toward the Golan Heights, Governor Cuomo announced a trip to visit the area and meet with Israeli leadership,” Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever, said in a statement. “Israel is now engaged on multiple fronts, including significant hostility Continue reading “Cuomo postpones Israel trip”

Schneiderman succession jockeying grips New York

NEW YORK — The scramble to succeed disgraced former New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — and assume one of the most prominent prosecutorial roles in national Democratic circles — is roiling New York’s election-year politics.

A wide pool of potential contenders quickly emerged following Schneiderman’s surprise resignation Monday night amid abuse allegations, ranging from three members of the state’s congressional delegation to New York City Public Advocate Tish James. Schneiderman had played a key role among Democratic state attorney generals in challenging the Trump administration, and the question of who succeeds him will have implications for future City mayoral races — and possibly even this year’s gubernatorial primary.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed an interim successor, Barbara Underwood.

James appeared to quickly gain momentum early this week. A well-known character on the New York City political stage, she’s a former public defender with a law degree from Howard Continue reading “Schneiderman succession jockeying grips New York”

New York Democrats huddle on Schneiderman replacement

New York Democrats huddled with state assembly speaker Carl Heastie on Capitol Hill Thursday as Heastie attempted to push back on reports he’s already lined up his preferred pick for the state’s open attorney general job.

Heastie insisted he is committed to an open process for selecting someone to temporarily fill the role after Eric Schneiderman’s resignation, according to multiple sources in the room. New York’s 213 state legislators are tasked with appointing a new attorney general; Heastie leads a bloc of 104 Democratic votes.

His comments behind closed doors came amid reports that New York City Public Advocate Letitia James has gained the speaker’s favor, in part because of a belief that elevating her would boost Heastie ally Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in a potential 2021 campaign for New York City mayor — a job both covet.

The New York Post even reported that James had Continue reading “New York Democrats huddle on Schneiderman replacement”

Cynthia Nixon’s family foundation contributed to groups that endorsed her

ALBANY — Working through her family foundation, actor Cynthia Nixon has donated tens of thousands of dollars to several progressive groups that are now supporting her campaign for governor, a POLITICO review has found.

Nixon, who‘s challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a Democratic primary by saying he is not a true progressive, has contributed at least $54,000 from 2012-2016 to four organizations that either have endorsed her run or have affiliates backing her, according to tax returns for the foundation filed with the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The “Sex and the City” star’s team says the contributions demonstrate her commitment to progressive causes, including education equity, and leaders of the groups in question say their endorsements and support are based on Nixon’s stances.

Cuomo’s allies are questioning the donations, and note that Nixon has so far not released her personal tax return — something she reiterated this week Continue reading “Cynthia Nixon’s family foundation contributed to groups that endorsed her”

Working Families Party endorses Nixon over Cuomo

ALBANY — The Working Families Party endorsed actor Cynthia Nixon over two-term Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday, fueling Nixon’s left-flank challenge and deepening a split among New York Democrats.

“You are the heart and soul of the progressive New York that we want to create,” Nixon said. “The last eight years under Andrew Cuomo have been an exercise in living with disappointment and dysfunction and dishonesty.”

Nixon has promised to legalize and tax marijuana, end cash bail, push for single-payer health care and increase funding to public schools — raising taxes if necessary. Cuomo has said he has a record of progressive achievement and is an effective leader in the fight against President Donald Trump.

The WFP endorsement all but guarantees a formal nomination — which will come at a convention in May — and assures the “Sex and the City” star a spot on the November ballot, even Continue reading “Working Families Party endorses Nixon over Cuomo”

Cuomo cedes WFP line, labor unions pull out of party

ALBANY — In a move that virtually guarantees Cynthia Nixon a spot on the November ballot, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced late Friday that he would not seek the Working Families Party’s nomination — ceding it to the “Sex and the City” actor who is running against him in a Democratic primary.

The governor’s announcement came after the remaining labor unions pulled out of the party on Friday, citing frustration with the activist groups within its ranks that have backed Nixon and are poised to direct the party nomination to her — perhaps as early as Saturday.

The exit of 32BJ SEIU and the Communications Workers of America was the latest in a long exodus of unions from the WFP that began in 2014, when the party nearly endorsed Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo’s left-flank challenger that year. Cuomo won, but the WFP became further dominated by groups like Citizen Action and Make Continue reading “Cuomo cedes WFP line, labor unions pull out of party”