This is turning into a potentially defining episode for Governor Cuomo, who is of course up for re-election in November and is expected to easily be re-elected. But through all this bad press throughout the ethics commission, this bombshell story last week about how the governor's office had been said to have interfered, the trillion dollar question had been, what nobody was really sure of was, just how interested is the US Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, in this? He had gotten a lot of documents, but how interested is he in this? Well, this morning we have the answer and the answer is very. The wording of this letter could not be more ominous for the governor. And what happened, just to connect a couple of dots there, the US attorney says in this letter that his office was contacted after these statements of support for Governor Cuomo and the suggestion was that they had been requested, that they had been asked for, maybe somebody had even been pressured to give these statements.
Michael Fiorillo here at Perdido Street School blog:
The vise is closing, and our Reptilian Governor's testicles are about to get caught in it.
It's gonna be sweet watching this awful facsimile of a human being go down...
Until early this morning, I wasn't so sure Bharara was really targeting Cuomo and his administration in his Moreland investigations.
Yes, there had been various signs that he might be heading there, but I didn't want to get ahead of the story - I learned my lesson well in the "Karl Rove sure to be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald" story back during the Bush administration.
But after the NY Times story went up around midnight, with Bharara warning Cuomo he would hit him with obstruction and witness tampering if he didn't lay off the intimidation and behind the scenes stage-managing, it finally hit me.
Preet Bharara really is going after Andrew Cuomo.
That letter was, as Allen said on Morning Joe today, "ominous for the governor."
Now who knows, maybe in the end Bharara decides no laws have been broken and Cuomo skates legally in all of this.
Nonetheless, the damage to his national profile has been considerable - Mike Allen again on Morning Joe:
Our sister site, Capital NY, has a story up by Laura Nahmias, pointing out that one problem Governor Cuomo is that there's kinda been a vacuum in his national image, he hasn't done a lot of interviews and this is filling that vacuum.
Can't wait for Cuomo's book tour in the fall - which may or may not happen, depending upon how bad this Moreland mess gets for him.