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Lawmakers call for Gov. Cuomo’s removal following aide’s reported nursing home data confession

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New York lawmakers are calling for gov. Andrew Cuomo’s impeachment after new information was released Thursday night on how his administration concealed Covid-19 death tolls.

Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers in a virtual meeting on Wednesday for withholding the state’s nursing-home death toll from COVID-19. She told lawmakers that the administration “froze” out of fear that the data would “be used against us” by federal prosecutors under the Trump administration, The New York Post reported Thursday.

According to audio footage The Post obtained of the meeting, DeRosa admitted the Cuomo administration had declined requests for a full count of nursing home deaths in August because “right around the same time, [then-President Donald Trump] turns this into a giant political football.”

“He starts tweeting that we killed everyone in nursing homes,” DeRosa said. “He starts going after [New Jersey Gov. Phil] Murphy, starts going after [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom, starts going after [Michigan Gov.] Gretchen Whitmer.”

In addition to attacking Cuomo’s fellow Democratic governors, DeRosa said, Trump “directs the Department of Justice to do an investigation into us.”

“And basically, we froze,” she told the lawmakers on the call.

“We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.”

DeRosa then attempted to make amends with the fellow democrat lawmakers for putting them in this situation.

“So we do apologize,” she said. “I do understand the position that you were put in. I know that it is not fair. It was not our intention to put you in that political position with the Republicans.”

According to the latest reports, nearly 15,000 New Yorkers who were in long-term care facilities died from Covid-19. The death toll number increased from about 9,000 to almost 15,000—making clear that the pandemic’s toll on long-term care residents was much worse than the Cuomo administration previously portrayed it to be.

State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt will hold a press conference Friday morning to push for further investigation into the situation.

“If the Governor is involved, he should be immediately removed from office,” Ortt said.

State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy is calling for Cuomo’s immediate impeachment.

“The second most powerful person in state government and top aide to Gov. Cuomo admitted on video to the premeditated and willful violation of state laws and what clearly amounts to federal obstruction of justice,” Langworthy said. “Andrew Cuomo has abused his power and destroyed the trust placed in the office of governor. Prosecution and impeachment discussions must begin right away.”

Sen. Rand Paul tweeted Friday morning that “If Democrats were honest about using impeachment to remove corrupt officials, they need look no further than Cuomo.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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