Mike Groll/Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo via AP and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.CNN anchor Chris Cuomo had a very normal show on Tuesday night. Among other issues, Cuomo interviewed former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, spoke with the mayor of Miami Beach about Gov. Ron DeSantis’s COVID-19 response, then talked to Vermont’s top public health official about its best-in-the-nation vaccination rate.
One thing he didn’t even remotely touch was the bombshell report by New York Attorney General Tish James finding that his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, sexually harassed and groped, kissed, and hugged without consent several current and former female state employees as well as members of the public—nor Chris Cuomo’s own involvement in the story. Though CNN had previously disclosed and excused Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s inner circle as the three-term governor tried desperately to explain away the accusations of sexual harassment earlier this year, the report found new information about the extent of his involvement, including that he helped the governor’s team craft responses to the allegations in late February. In one case, an email attributed to Chris Cuomo and sent to former Cuomo chief of staff Josh Vlasto mirrored a statement made by Cuomo just hours later. CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News. In May, when the Washington Post first reported on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in the governor’s response, the network admitted that Cuomo’s conduct was “inappropriate” and said that he would “not participate in such conversations going forward,” but declined to discipline the anchor.Andrew Cuomo was defiant and indignant in a Tuesday press conference during the release of the report, categorically denying some of the claims and excusing others. He also released a response to the report which included dozens of pages of photos of himself and other politicians kissing and hugging people.
President Joe Biden called for Cuomo to resign on Tuesday, and state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the body would begin impeachment proceedings, as it appears unlikely that Cuomo will actually quit. While the governor’s brother didn’t address the scandal, the CNN anchor who followed him, Don Lemon, did. Lemon called Cuomo’s press conference “tone-deaf” and pondered whether he would “take a page out of the Trump playbook, the last thing you might have expected from him in the past.” Lemon also played clips from James’ press conference where investigators quoted from the report, and called the excerpts “damning.” Other CNN employees were frustrated by the network’s failure to deal with the younger Cuomo brother.“I think that, as journalists, it’s our responsibility to act in the most responsible possible way, not only to maintain journalistic integrity, but also for the public to regain trust in journalism and television news,” one current CNN staffer told BuzzFeed News.“And the fact that Chris Cuomo wasn’t fired over his inappropriate conflict of interest in actively affecting a news story is not only irresponsible of CNN, but also a disgrace to journalism.”