New York Democrats aren’t buying into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s explanation for why it took his administration months to release the true accounting of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19. He blamed the Justice Department probe and inquiry into his nursing home admission policy for the delay in releasing the accurate coronavirus death tally of nursing home residents.
Republican lawmakers, along with seven New York Democrats, submitted legislation to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers and even accuse him of obstruction of justice over the nursing home reporting.
Emilia Decaudin, a state committee member and Queens County Democratic District Leader, talked about why the continued wrongdoing of Gov. Cuomo must be repudiated. “Actions have consequences. I consider it my responsibility as a representative of the Democrats in my community to hold members of our party accountable, from City Council up to the Governor,” she said.
Cuomo and his administration have repeatedly denied and refused to comply with COVID-19 nursing home data and even admitted to stonewalling due to “fear of legal and political accountability.” Cuomo has threatened numerous lawmakers, including Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim who refused to release false statements to the public regarding the situation. He has sought to deceive and frame the public, Trump, the legislature, and the DOJ as a whole.
John Daukas, who served as acting U.S attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, warned the New York governor that he should be worried about a federal probe after lying to the public and government officials for so long. He said the reported admissions weren’t “merely negligent, but intentional and perhaps criminal.”
“Even if it cannot be proved that the Cuomo administration knowingly provided false information to Justice and the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), New York’s willful failure to provide information may itself constitute a criminal offense—particularly if the intent was to thwart a federal investigation—which, after all, is exactly what Ms. DeRosa reportedly said the administration did,” Daukas said.
He was referencing the stunning admission by Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who said during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders that they withheld the state’s nursing home death toll, telling them that they “froze” out of fear that the true numbers would be used against them by federal prosecutors and former President Trump.
Daukas said he feels confident in opening up an investigation with former Attorney General Willian Barr against Cuomo, pointing to evidence he has gathered up with their sister division, the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. He requested the same information regarding 600+ private nursing homes, but was told that New York had “stonewalled” and “didn’t produce anything throughout the rest of the year, perhaps waiting for a change in administration.”
Daukas told Fox News he firmly believes Cuomo and his administration were behind the decision to push infected patients back into nursing homes and said he feels confident the American people will ultimately know the truth and that grieving families can get the justice they deserve.