Speed Reads

Cuomo scandal

Andrew Cuomo once reportedly made an 'impeachable' call to the Obama White House to complain about a federal prosecutor

Hours before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) resignation over sexual harassment allegations, The New Yorker on Tuesday shared a completely separate instance of alleged Cuomo misconduct — this time relating back to the Obama White House and a reportedly impeachment-worthy phone call.

In 2014, following his shutdown of a probe intended to investigate corruption in New York State politics, Cuomo called the White House "ranting and raving" about then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, reports The New Yorker.

"This guy's out of control," Cuomo reportedly told Senior Adviser to President Barack Obama Valerie Jarrett. "He's your guy." The governor was apparently upset that Bharara had requested the probe's commissioners preserve documents, and also asked investigators to interview key witnesses. But such a call was "highly inappropriate and potentially illegal," said Jennifer Rodgers, a former prosecutor in Bharara's office and adjunct professor at NYU Law School, and may have violated state ethics rules, writes The New Yorker.

"If he, in fact, called a U.S. Attorney's bosses and implied, 'Stop this guy from looking into me,' that could easily amount to an impeachable offense," added Jessica Levinson, director of Loyola Law School's Public Service Institute. 

For her part, Jarrett said she "shut down the conversation" with Cuomo as soon as she realized what he was talking about, and reported the call to White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who then shared the incident with Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. "He shouldn't have been doing that. He's trying to exert political pressure on basically a prosecution or an investigation," said Cole.

Bharara, who was notified by the Department of Justice, said he remembers feeling alarmed by Cuomo's actions. "Trump did that. That's an extraordinary thing, from my perspective."

In any event, Cuomo is now out the door. Read more at The New Yorker.