Though the lion’s share of reporting in recent days about embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has centered on the growing list of women accusing him of sexual misconduct, there is another serious line of inquiry afoot that also poses a serious threat to his political future.
According to reporting from the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is in the process of probing whether Cuomo aides provided false information concerning the true number of deaths that occurred in nursing homes across the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Post further reported that the FBI as well as federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have been in contact with attorney’s representing Cuomo staffers, have conducted interviews with officials from the state Health Department, and issued subpoenas to the governor’s office seeking documents in relation to the probe.
According to the Post, the inquiry stems from data submitted to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) last summer pertaining to COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes throughout New York. While the investigation initially focused on certain members of Cuomo’s coronavirus advisory group, it has since shifted toward the governor himself and his top aides.
Prior reporting revealed that data provided to the DOJ in July of 2020 referenced just those nursing home residents who died due to COVID-19 while in those facilities and not those who perished after a transfer to a hospital, an adjustment that served to disguise the true number of deaths.
As the Post reported separately back in February, top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa admitted to providing incomplete data on nursing home deaths, citing a fear that the real numbers would “be used against” the administration by federal prosecutors.
As justification for the move, DeRosa blamed former President Donald Trump, who she said had turned the issue “into a giant political football,” adding:
He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes. He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.
News of the FBI probe only adds to the pressure continuing to mount on Cuomo, with the New York Times reporting that an eighth woman – a current aide to the governor – has now come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
In a potentially foreboding sign for Cuomo, even President Joe Biden – who had stayed relatively quiet on the governor’s controversies early on – weighed in on his possible fate on Tuesday, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulous that if harassment and inappropriate touching claims against him are borne out by investigators, not only should he resign, but “he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”