Biden calls for New York governor Andrew Cuomo to resign over harassment report


Image credit: Getty

President Joe Biden has called for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after a report by the state’s attorney general found that the governor sexually harassed multiple women.


Mr Biden's condemnation of Mr Cuomo came hours after the state's Attorney General Letitia James said the governor had violated state and federal laws.


Cuomo has rejected James’s findings and denied the harassment allegations in his own pre-recorded statement, displaying a montage of photos of him touching the faces of strangers. He said the behaviour was simply intended to convey warmth.


Cuomo has also vowed to stay in office.


Mr Cuomo could now be impeached, and is also facing a separate criminal probe.


State Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday that Cuomo engaged in “unwanted groping” and kissing of current and former state employees as well as women outside of state government.


"I think he should resign," Mr Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. "I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don't know that for a fact. I have not read all that data."


Investigators spent five months speaking to nearly 200 people, including staff members and some of those who made complaints against him. Tens of thousands of documents, texts and pictures were reviewed as part of the inquiry.


In one case, Mr Cuomo and his staff retaliated against a former employee who accused him of wrongdoing, according to Ms James.


Other women described being groped, kissed or sitting on the governor's lap.


Mr Cuomo allegedly reached under the blouse of an assistant to touch her breast, while another aide said he asked her if she was open to sex with an older man.


New York's senators, the Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand used the release of the investigation to again call for him to resign.


"Today's report from the New York State attorney general substantiated and corroborated the allegations of the brave women who came forward to share their stories - and we commend the women for doing so," they said.


The investigation is civil, rather than criminal, so will not directly lead to charges.


Police could use the report to take further action and it is also likely to play a key role in a separate impeachment investigation he faces - as well as in a criminal inquiry in Albany, the state's capital city.