The other day, I suggested that Andrew Cuomo and/or members of his staff may have violated up to three federal criminal statutes in connection with a Justice Department request for information about nursing home deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus in New York. Now comes word that the FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York have opened an investigation into Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes and nursing home death data.
The investigation appears to center around Team Cuomo’s response to a letter from Eric Dreiband, then Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, requesting very specific information about nursing home deaths. Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa has admitted that Team Cuomo withheld the true toll of nursing home deaths from the virus due to Eric’s letter.
As she put it, “we froze” out of fear that the true numbers would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors. In other words, we couldn’t tell the truth because the Justice Department was investigating.
That sounds like obstruction of a government investigation to me. No wonder the FBI is now investigating.
In my post, I said, “it might be a good idea for Senate Republicans to ask Merrick Garland about this at his confirmation hearing later this month.” It looks like that is in the works. Senate Republicans on the Judiciary Committed issued this statement:
When Judge Garland testifies before this Committee, we expect him to commit the Department of Justice to fully investigating this cover-up to determine whether any criminal laws were violated and to prosecute any violations.
Even though administration of the Justice Department is now in the hands of Democrats, institutional considerations demand that attempts to thwart inquiries from the Department, whichever party was in power at the time, be taken very seriously.
In Republican administrations, institutional considerations normally are cited as the reason (or excuse) for continuing to investigate and prosecute matters initiated by Democrats. The Labor Department’s ill-fated action against Oracle for imagined pay discrimination is a good example
Democrats typically are more willing to drop matters initiated by Republicans. Institutional considerations don’t count as much with them, probably because they view Republicans as interlopers — illegitimate custodians of their institutions.
But maybe Cuomo’s case will be different. For one thing, the attempt to obstruct the DOJ seems so blatant.