New York’s Republican Congressional delegation has formally called on the Department of Justice to investigate allegations regarding an aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) withholding data on the state’s nursing home coronavirus deaths to forestall a possible federal investigation.
🚨BREAKING: NY GOP Congressional delegation is calling on @TheJusticeDept to open Obstruction of Justice investigation into Cuomo/his admin. They covered-up the true consequences of his nursing home policy & now it’s being reported they withheld info to block a DOJ investigation! pic.twitter.com/x0j0zEIugH
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 12, 2021
On Thursday, a top Cuomo aide privately apologized to Democrat lawmakers for withholding the nursing home data, conceding that officials “froze” due to concerns that the figures could “be used against us” in a federal probe.
The New York Post first reported:
The stunning admission of a coverup was made by secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders in which she said the Cuomo administration had rebuffed a legislative request for the tally in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football,” according to an audio recording of the two-hour-plus meeting. […]
In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”
“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call.
Cuomo, who met with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office Friday, has not personally addressed DeRosa’s remarks.
Earlier Friday, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) announced that he will file a criminal complaint against DeRosa and called for her arrest.
“I’m going to be looking at filing a personal criminal complaint against this individual today in local law enforcement offices as well as federal offices because she needs to be arrested today,” Reed told the Fox Business Network.
Reed continued: “Now we have Gov. Cuomo’s second-in-command essentially on a taped confession to fellow Democratic lawmakers admitting she committed criminal activity to cover up for what they were hiding from the federal officials that were responsible to get to the bottom of this, and make sure that skilled nursing homes and nursing homes themselves learned what happened with the COVID-19 positive order that sent 15,000 people to their death that Cuomo issued back in March.”
New York Republicans aren’t the only ones furious with Cuomo’s handling of the nursing home data.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democrat State Senate Majority Leader, issued a pointed statement on the scandal.
“Crucial information should never be withheld from entities that are empowered to pursue oversight,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Politics should not be part of this tragic pandemic and our responses to it must be led by policy, not politics.”
Andrew Gounardes, another Democrat state senator, took to Twitter to call the situation “a betrayal of the public trust.”
There needs to be full accountability for what happened, and the legislature needs to reconsider its broad grant of emergency powers to the governor,” Gounardes added.