Cuomo: "The best government is the best politics. Just do the right thing. Yes, this is going to be divisive. The country is already divided politically. I don't think it is going to be any more divisive than this President has succeeded in dividing us already."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was a guest on The Roundtable with Alan Chartock on WAMC Northeast Public Radio and was asked about the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
AUDIO is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Alan Chartock: Okay let's go there -
Governor Cuomo: The president said to the Ukrainian -
Alan Chartock: Yeah, yeah.
Governor Cuomo: Zelemsky - I'll have my Attorney General work with you to investigate Biden. It's just they think the Department of Justice is a political attack mechanism.
Alan Chartock: Nancy Pelosi announces, you know, it's time for an impeachment inquiry and I ask the Governor of New York, what do you think?
Governor Cuomo: Well, she either had a crystal ball or was prophetic yesterday. Because when the transcript came out today, and you actually see what the president says, you're darn right there should be an inquiry. I mean, forget the politics of the situation, just the legal analysis now of this situation. You have the president now saying, "Giuliani and my Attorney General will help you investigate my political opponent." How do you justify the use of public resources for a political purpose? It would be like if I said, "We're going to use the State Police to investigate - call the State Police, they'll help you investigate my political opponent." That's not a political question - that's a legal question. That's a criminal question. So yes, inquiry, all these semantics: Investigate that because there's potential illegality.
Alan Chartock: Were you prepared to say now, Governor Cuomo, that this president should be impeached?
Governor Cuomo: I prepared to say now there should be a legal investigation into the propriety and legality of what he said and did.
Alan Chartock: What if -
Governor Cuomo: I mean just think about it, Alan. You have the president saying to a foreign head of state, "Investigate my political opponent. My attorney general will help you. By the way, do me a favor and contemporaneously, we can release hundreds of millions of dollars to you."
Alan Chartock: Well, on its face that looks like soothing that is an impeachable offense.
Governor Cuomo: On its face, it does but since we are responsible and prudent we do not take the first judgement but we will investigate and find the facts. But you are right. On its face, it raises serious legal questions. Now there are congressmen, Congressman Brindisi and others, who do not want to be talking about impeachment. At least that is the way that I see it. Is that a mistake on their part? Is there a point at which every congressman at this stage ought to be saying hey if it smells like a skunk it is a skunk?
Look, I think they are all trying to make a political calculus. How does this affect me politically? The best rule of thumb was the best government is the best politics. The best government is the best politics. Just do the right thing. Yes, this is going to be divisive. The country is already divided politically. I don't think it is going to be any more divisive than this President has succeeded in dividing us already.
Alan Chartock: But wait, will it help this - will Pelosi calling for an impeachment inquiry, will it help the President get reelected?
Governor Cuomo: I don't know. But I also believe -
Alan Chartock: You are a pretty smart guy when it comes to politics. You should know. I'll bet when you are sitting around the dinner table that you know. Why don't you tell us?
Governor Cuomo: Because I do not know what the effect is. But I also think that she had no choice. You have a constitutional obligation. When you are presented with the facts in that transcript, you have no choice. And that is her ultimate liberation. Once you read that transcript and you know your constitutional obligation as the leader of the House, she has no choice. She has no choice. You have to investigate that because on its face it raises troubling legal questions. What was the political impact? Who cares? It does not matter. It is your constitutional obligation, and then the chips fall where they may.
Alan Chartock: Okay, let me ask you a question. Let me go back for a second and ask you about Rudy Giuliani. You have the President's lawyer. You have the President's Attorney General, which is certainly more, or the Attorney General of the United States Is should say, more troubling than Giuliani. But what do you think about Giuliani at this stage of the game? You've know this guy for all of these years. You know, what are you saying around the dinner table? Forget about what you are saying to a million of us right now.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, look don't tell him that I said it, but my brother Chris did a heck of a job with Giuliani.
Alan Chartock: He called him Fredo again.
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, that's okay because he really advanced this story. See he had Giuliani on and Giuliani, if you let Giuliani talk he will tell you what he is thinking. He says I talked to the Ukrainian officials. Chris asked him well did you talk about Biden? First, he says no. Then he says, "yes, we talked about Biden."Giuliani believes there is a theory that Biden did something wrong with the prosecutor and that's their story. And they are looking to get the Ukrainian government to help them do that. He said it. And then the next day the President came out and he said yeah that is right. That is right. That is what we are doing. And that became, that was the whistleblower complaint which they tried to stifle.
Now, all of a sudden you see the Department of Justice was involved in stopping the release of the whistleblower complaint, and by the way, the whistleblower complaint may implicate the Attorney General. The Department of Justice says there is no campaign finance violation. Who cares about a campaign finance violation? How about using the Attorney General as a political attack dog. How about that? How about the President of the United Sates saying I'll assign my Attorney General to work with you to attack my political opponent. How about the legality of that? C'mon.