March 14, 2017

Cuomo And De Blasio “Stay Mum” On Preet Bharra’s Exit

The firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara shook up New York’s political world. Yet two usually gregarious New York politicians, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, suddenly lost their ability to voice an opinion when the topic of Bharara’s exit came up.

Perhaps Cuomo and de Blasio were just getting over their disappointment that even though Bharara is exiting, the criminal investigations into their administrations are still ongoing:

“’We anticipate that the work of the office will continue for the foreseeable future with minimal disruptions,’ said a lawyer within the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.”

In particular, the investigation into de Blasio has “escalated in recent weeks”:

“Most notably, Mr. Bharara leaves behind his office’s yearlong probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio , a Democrat, and his aides in connection with a corruption investigation into the mayor’s fundraising operations. That probe has escalated in recent weeks, with federal prosecutors questioning both the mayor and one of his top aides, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Whatever the reason, both Cuomo and de Blasio were asked about Bharara yesterday, and could not switch topics fast enough:

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio each declined to weigh in on Mr. Bharara’s departure. ‘I’m just not going to comment on it,’ Mr. de Blasio said at an unrelated event Monday. When Mr. Cuomo was asked about Mr. Bharara during a conference call about the coming snowstorm, his aide said the governor was taking only questions about the snowstorm.”

Now this morning, Cuomo went even further into fantasy land, telling CBS that he hadn’t been following the situation:

“’You know, I don’t really know,’ he said after discussing the state’s preparations for this morning’s snowstorm. ‘I didn’t follow the situation. There’s a transition from one administration to the next. But beyond that, I haven’t followed it.’”

While Cuomo and de Blasio’s head in the sand approach might work for now, New York’s top Democrats know that with all the ethical issues swirling around them, they can’t stay silent for very long.