Cuomo weighs in on Mar-a-Lago search
It was one year ago Wednesday that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his resignation after an empowered decade in office. He said he would resign — rather than try to fend off an inevitable impeachment driven by members of his own party — and would “step aside and let government get back to governing.”
The departure came a week after Attorney General Letitia James issued a 165-page report that found Cuomo sexually harassed women and created a toxic work atmosphere. Since then he has publicly campaigned for his reputation by heatedly disputing the findings of the report, speaking at churches, defending his record as governor, and accusing his accusers of bad faith all around.
All the buzz that he’d jump back into this year's election scrum proved idle. Prosecutors never charged him with anything. His selected successor, Gov. Kathy Hochul, seeks election in November and James seeks reelection.
Now, on the eve of his bleak anniversary, Cuomo generates a new dose of social media attention with a viral tweet on the sensational news of the moment — that the FBI and the Justice Department on Monday conducted a search at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago domain.
Cuomo, a former state attorney general, declared: “DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid & it must be more than a search for inconsequential archives or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation & legitimacy of January 6 investigations.”
While the world still awaited more information out of Florida Tuesday morning, nobody could really predict exactly who would view this execution of a search warrant as a “political tactic,” or how it would “undermine” other probes, or what constitutes an “inconsequential archive.”
Cuomo’s analysis of the political optics did not quite sound like the overwrought cries of persecution Monday and Tuesday that came from Republican leaders, starting with Trump himself. Still, with at least one headline suggesting he’d “joined” with Republicans in demanding an explanation of the search, Cuomo saw fit to follow up his 9:06 a.m. tweet. He added at 11:16 a.m.: “DOJ must disclose the bona fide nature of the August 8 action or else the Republicans will use it to discredit the Jan 6 investigation, which would be a terrible disservice to the good work of the house committee in exposing The Trump administration violations.”
Queries from the DOJ (under Trump) about data involving nursing home deaths due to COVID-19 once rattled Cuomo’s executive chamber. Last year, the DOJ announced it wouldn’t open a civil probe into the COVID-19 response in nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
For now Cuomo’s future plans, perhaps a bit like Trump's, remain unknown.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
Who’s with whom in CD2?
The CD2 endorsement game is heating up — and it provides a pretty good shorthand for the dynamics of this intriguing Republican primary.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino, the only Long Island member of Congress running for reelection this cycle, on Tuesday unveiled a list of close to two dozen state and local officials who are supporting his campaign. They include Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Suffolk County Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, plus a slew of Long Island’s state senators, Assembly members, town supervisors and county legislators.
The idea is that these local Republicans will carry weight at home and drive turnout in their areas. Their support comes in addition to that of federal officials such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Lee Zeldin — now running for governor — and Rep. Elise Stefanik who have already endorsed Garbarino’s bid.
Garbarino’s host of establishment, elected GOP support is in contrast to his opponents, Robert Cornicelli and Mike Rakebrandt, neither of whose endorsement websites list a single currently-serving Long Island politician. Rakebrandt, a longtime NYPD member, has only one individual endorser — Pat Hahn, who previously sought a bid for CD1 — in addition to a few groups.
Cornicelli, a more established but still fiery political figure, has a longer list of endorsers, including some local so-called “patriot” groups like Long Island Loud Majority, as well as people associated with former President Donald Trump, such as Rudy Giuliani and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. His supporters also include the hosts of Bernie & Sid In The Morning, a popular radio show that broadcasts strong opinions on politics.
This is fitting for the style of outsider campaign Cornicelli has been running against Garbarino, highlighting what he calls the Bayport incumbent’s departures from Trump-wing GOP orthodoxies.
Some of Garbarino’s endorsers are big Trump loyalists, including Zeldin and Stefanik. But the freshman congressman has sometimes departed from Trump on issues like Biden’s infrastructure bill and certification of the 2020 election, the kinds of votes that his opponents hope will animate primary voters this month. It’s an open question: the district features large pockets of pro-Trump sentiment, but also repeatedly voted for Pete King, the veteran Republican who has endorsed Garbarino, retired ahead of the 2020 race and also sometimes sidestepped his party.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
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Strife over renaming Malverne street de-escalates
For two years students in Malverne have been advocating for a name change for Lindner Place, which had that moniker for over 100 years. The street, which runs next to the Malverne Public Library and the Maurice W. Dowling Elementary School, formerly known as Lindner Place Elementary.
The street was named after Paul Lindner, an early village settler and businessman who was also a local Ku Klux Klan leader, and helped orchestrate cross burnings and marches on Long Island.
A group of Malverne students had done a history project on Lindner about two years ago, which became a drive for the name change, and was backed by 5,000 petition signatures.
The issue, already a hot topic that caused some community division, became more controversial because Mayor Keith Corbett, also a candidate for Congress, seemed to be fence-sitting for a while and said he needed more time and information to decide.
But in April Corbett had a change of heart, and the change moved forward, with the Lindner Place Renaming Committee formed to gather suggestions and community input, and choose a new name.
That selection, of course, could have been another invitation to conflict, but it won’t be. That’s because the committee has agreed the street will not be named after a person or anything controversial.
Jamie Bellamy, a member of the committee, addressed the board of trustees meeting Wednesday and said the group had narrowed the selections down to 35 names, all of which are “specific to the beauty and nature associated with Malverne and its residents.”
And you would have to be very fractious indeed to start trouble over any of these candidates, which include Acorn Way, Amity Lane, Broad Street, Evergreen Avenue, First Street,Forest Avenue, Holly Drive, Library Road, Old School Road, Pleasant Street, Mayberry Lane and a host of other pastoral options.
Bellamy said a public meeting on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. will give residents a chance to express preferences. The intention is to get it down to five finalists, from whom the board of trustees and mayor will pick a winner.
Of course, this being village politics, offering up five inoffensive finalists is not a surefire guarantee no one will take offense.
— Lane Filler @lanefiller