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U.S. Lawmaker On Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal: ‘The Dam Is Breaking,’ State And Federal Probes Needed

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NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/09/09: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that restaurants can be open for in-door dining on September 30 at 3rd ave office. Governor said that restaurants can reopen their indoor spaces at 25 percent capacity with strict social distancing and safety requirements. Restaurants must post regulations in their dining rooms, have a high-density air filtration system and distance tables by six feet. Bar service is not permitted.
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A Congresswoman from New York is calling for state and federal investigations into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the tide is turning against the governor and that both Republicans and Democrats in the state are calling for action.

“He is the worst governor in America in terms of how he has handled the COVID crisis,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) told Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “And last week was an absolute bombshell, you have both Democrats and Republicans calling for an independent investigation. I want to see subpoenas both at the state level, the State Senate and state assembly should issue subpoenas immediately. And I want the Department of Justice to launch an independent investigation.”

“We know from the partial transcript that was released by the secretary to the governor there was that there was obstruction of justice. And this is not about politics. This is about people’s lives,” she continued. “And what was so shameful about the transcript that was released was the secretary to the governor didn’t apologize for the number of deaths, didn’t apologize for the policy, but apologize for the political fallout that faced Democrats. So it’s a disgrace. And President Biden needs to keep to his promise that the Department of Justice will be independent from political pressure from Governor Cuomo, who is a Democrat, but the Department of Justice and law enforcement, this prosecution needs to go forward immediately.”

Stefanik also said that she believes that there are “serious pay to play issues that are going on here as well, because of some of the immunity shields that were forced into the legislation by the governor’s team.”

Stefanik concluded the segment by saying that “the dam is breaking” as “overwhelming bipartisan outcry” has started to mount against the governor.

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: So he’s the lead horse, the gold standard in handling of COVID. Joining me now Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York. She joins us now. Congresswoman, great to have you with us today. What what’s your reaction to this? And you know, does the White House need to be a little bit more circumspect about the approval and applause for Governor Cuomo at this point, given all of this?

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Well, just look at Governor Cuomo’s failed record. He is the worst governor in America in terms of how he has handled the COVID crisis. And last week was an absolute bombshell, you have both Democrats and Republicans calling for an independent investigation. I want to see subpoenas both at the state level, the State Senate and state assembly should issue subpoenas immediately. And I want the Department of Justice to launch an independent investigation. We know from the partial transcript that was released by the secretary to the governor there was that there was obstruction of justice. And this is not about politics. This is about people’s lives. And what was so shameful about the transcript that was released was the secretary to the governor didn’t apologize for the number of deaths, didn’t apologize for the policy, but apologize for the political fallout that faced Democrats. So it’s a disgrace. And President Biden needs to keep to his promise that the Department of Justice will be independent from political pressure from Governor Cuomo, who is a Democrat, but the Department of Justice and law enforcement, this prosecution needs to go forward immediately.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, you know, the facts are what they are. And you know, just to go back on this a little bit, what what basically happened was that they were worried about having enough space in the hospitals in New York. So they started shuttling out these elderly people who had had COVID, who were on the tail end of it, and moving them back into these nursing homes. And Congresswoman, they did this when they had these ships, the Mercy, the Comfort, right off of the coast of Manhattan. And they had cleared and set up the entire Javits Center at an enormous expense, was a great idea, beds that went on us. And he has never answered that question. Why didn’t he use those places that were sitting there instead of infecting these people back in the nursing homes?

STEFANIK: He hasn’t answered those questions, Martha. And those are the questions that New Yorkers have been asking for months, almost going on a year at this point. You are right that the Javits Center and the US Navy Comfort ship were frankly left empty where positive COVID patients were sent back into nursing homes. I’ve talked to constituents in my district where there were healthy seniors who were recovering and sent to nursing homes for rehabilitation for various surgeries. And then they ultimately died because they caught COVID in the nursing homes. The other thing that’s key here, Martha, is they did not follow CMS guidance. It was very clear from the Trump administration and CMS that the CMS recommendation and requirement is that nursing homes should only accept positive COVID patients if they have adequate PPE and if they were able to isolate those individuals. New York State ignored that. And this is why we need an investigation because those questions need to be answered. These tens of thousands of families deserve transparency and accountability and frankly, at this point with an obstruction of justice that needs to be prosecuted at the federal level. I also think there are serious pay to play issues that are going on here as well, because of some of the immunity shields that were forced into the legislation by the governor’s team.

MACCALLUM: That’s a great point. What about the fact that you have Democrats who are now calling for more of an investigation for him to lose his emergency powers? The Wall Street Journal said today, the question is now are whether Democrats in Albany will have what it takes to do their job and to hold hearings on the cover up whether state and federal prosecutors will investigate and prosecute, if called for and whether the media that’s so cheered, Mr. Cuomo, through his COVID-19 press conferences will hold him to the same standard that they held Mr. Trump. I think this is the kind of question that people across the country are looking for answers for today, will both sides call out this behavior and investigate?

STEFANIK: Yes, and less than a month ago, Democrats, state senators blocked subpoenas. They also blocked state Senate Republicans who wanted to rein in those emergency powers. Now the dam is breaking Martha, you’re seeing overwhelming bipartisan outcry. And a little bit about the politics in New York State. Everyone knows Governor Cuomo is a bully that they bully people within their own party. But this is more important. We’re talking about lives that were lost here. So these Democratic state senators and frankly, the Democratic Congressional delegation, needs to grow a spine and grow some political courage and stand up for what’s right, which is the people of this state who deserve justice. So we will see but those subpoenas and that investigation should be launched immediately. There is no excuse after last week’s bombshell.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, and media across the board has a responsibility to cover the story to do the investigation to find out what happened and put it out there for people to take a look at and make up their own minds, it’s a very serious situation as you rightly point out. Congresswoman, always good to speak with you. Thank you very much.

STEFANIK:  Thanks, Martha.

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