Chris Cuomo admitted to all but serving as an unpaid senior advisor to his brother Andrew, then the governor of New York — while hosting his nightly news show on CNN, damning investigative documents reveal.
He advised his brother on how to handle COVID “messaging” and initiatives amid the pandemic, campaigning and “often” spoke about then-President Donald Trump, all while discussing many of the same topics each night on his news talk show, transcripts released by the New York Attorney General’s office reveal.
The revelations come as many have called for the CNN star to be fired for violating journalistic ethics — and the network says it is reviewing the newly released admissions by Cuomo and will decide his fate in the next several days.
In a 348-page transcript of Chris Cuomo’s July 15 interview with investigators, Jennifer Kennedy Park, a special deputy appointed by the AG’s office, asked the 51-year-old “Cuomo Prime Time” host if he discussed the #MeToo movement with the chief executive.
After testifying that he spoke “generally” with his brother about the topic, Cuomo replied “former President Trump” when pressed for specifics.
Asked what exactly was discussed vis-à-vis the social movement and Trump, the cable TV host replied vaguely, “The nature of what was resonating and what wasn’t and why and what that meant about what was happening in society and the media.”
The 63-year-old, scandal-scarred former governor, according to his little brother, believed that views on sexual misconduct were “highly political,” and Americans have conflicting opinions on the matter.
“And that was something that he believed very much politically benefited the former president, that it was very different how things were viewed in his camp, I guess you’d call it,” he added.
Asked for when such conversations took place, Chris Cuomo characterized them as occurring “frequently.”
“We spoke about the president often during his entire administration,” he told investigators. “I wouldn’t say often, but event-driven. But we spoke about the administration frequently.”
Additionally, as COVID-19 spread across the country becoming a topic of national news, the younger Cuomo told investigators he coached the then-governor’s team communications about pandemic response at their request.
“Discussions about initiatives with the pandemic and messaging from the governor about different aspects of how he was handling the COVID crisis,” he said.
The answer came in response to investigators asking if Chris Cuomo’s input had been solicited by the Executive Chamber before December 2020, when the sexual harassment scandal began with Lindsey Boylan’s allegations.
His input was mostly given to Melissa DeRosa, the right-hand to the governor, Chris Cuomo told investigators.
Cuomo also recalled during his interview that he was asked by DeRosa at some unspecified time to find out if more women were coming forward with sexual misconduct charges.
“I would — when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” he said, according to the AG’s transcript.
“I remember Melissa asking me at some point that either they wanted to know if I knew or could find out if more were coming or that she had heard that one or maybe two more were coming and could I find out.”
As politicians from across the political spectrum in the spring and summer began demanding that Cuomo resign — calls he resisted until his August announcement he would step down in two weeks — the CNN anchor, according to his own account, advised his older brother to stay put.
“I told him, ‘If you have done nothing that you believe was wrong, don’t resign, because resigning is you saying that you did something wrong,’” said the younger Cuomo. “Don’t do it.”
In response to the damning revelations, CNN said Monday the newly released evidence would be the subject of “a thorough review and consideration.”
“We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days,” the network’s statement read.