CNN in Hot Water as Host Chris Cuomo Accused of Enabling Brother’s Crimes
CNN’s Chris Cuomo received 'confidential and often privileged information'
As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing 11 women by the NY Attorney General’s office, CNN has found itself in a situation of conflict of interest amid reports that their host enabled the governor’s behavior and did not “believe all women.”
CNN’s Chris Cuomo received “confidential and often privileged information” about some women coming forward against his brother with sexual harassment, “looked to protect” the governor, and “found ways not to believe” his accusers, Attorney General Letitia James reported.
The AG's report also reproduces a message from one of the governor’s alleged victims who complained about pro-Cuomo coverage on CNN.
News broke in May that the host of “Cuomo Prime Time” advised his brother how to handle cases of sexual impropriety.
The network apologized at the time and promised it would not happen again.
The AG report also states that Chris Cuomo and those who devised the governor’s response “were not State employees at all."
“None of them was officially retained in any capacity by the Executive Chamber or any of the individuals involved.”
“Nonetheless, they were regularly provided with confidential and often privileged information about state operations and helped make decisions that impacted State business and employees — all without any formal role, duty, or obligation to the State,” the report says.
The report notes that Cuomo “actively engaged in an effort to discredit her, including by disseminating to the press confidential internal documents that painted her in a negative light.”
But the governor’s “advisors, including [Global Strategy Group founder Jeffrey] Pollock and Chris Cuomo, counseled him to express contrition after the press published Ms. [Charlotte] Bennett’s allegations,” at least in public.
The report also appears to confirm that Chris Cuomo drafted all of his brother’s official statements in response to the allegations.
The text of an email written by Chris Cuomo at 3:13 p.m. on February 28 is included in exhibit 70 of the report’s second appendix.
It was published on the governor's website two-and-a-half hours later, at 5:45 p.m.
Cuomo has defied the allegations.
“I do it with everyone,” he said Tuesday afternoon, arguing the advances are “meant to convey warmth.”
Chris Cuomo helped his brother circumvent accountability and enabled him to continue his pattern of harassment, the report states.
“[T]he Executive Chamber (and the Governor’s select group of outside confidantes) looked to protect the Governor and found ways not to believe or credit those who stepped forward to make or support allegations against him,” it says.
The report notes one of Cuomo’s victims was distressed watching CNN’s gushing portrayals of the New York Democrat.
Anna Ruch received a text message with a picture of Governor Cuomo pinching the cheeks of young girl on September 16, 2019.
“This f**king guy,” the text said.
Anna replied that she had just seen adulatory coverage of Cuomo on CNN.
“Walked in to work, and CNN was talking about his e cigarette ban. ALSO if you google Cuomo harassment, it’s all praising some workplace harassment policy he put in place,” Ruch wrote.
“I wish I’d said or tried to do something.”
CNN has been downplaying the explosive nature of the AG report’s exposé.
“New York attorney general’s report on Gov. Cuomo is civil, not criminal,” CNN’s Melanie Schuman reported.
“In the report, the investigators repeatedly described Cuomo’s conduct as ‘unlawful.’ A footnote in the report, however, said that the report was not reaching a conclusion as to ‘whether the conduct amounts to or should be the subject of criminal prosecution.’”
On the other hand, an analysis from Chris Cillizza concludes that the report “will almost certainly will end Andrew Cuomo’s political career.”
CNN’s story also fails to contain any reference to Chris Cuomo.
“CNN had no immediate comment on Tuesday,” according to The New York Times, which called the fact that the host “offered political advice to his brother, a clear breach of traditional ethical barriers between journalists and lawmakers.”
CNN banned Chris Cuomo from covering his brother from 2013 to 2020.
The ban was reinstated after investigators charged Cuomo with the cover-up of the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes.
Earlier this year, Cuomo faced a slew of sexual misconduct accusations with a women who claimed he touched her without her consent inside his mansion.
Cuomo claimed that, although he did touch women, it was not “inappropriate.” "First, I’m not aware of any other claim,” he said at the time.