Merrick Garland’s response Monday to a question about a potential conflict of interest in any investigation of of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was “not good enough,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., told “Fox News Primetime.”
During Garland’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas noted that acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss is the mother-in-law of Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide. DeRosa admitted to Democratic state lawmakers earlier this month that the governor’s administration withheld data on nursing home deaths because officials “froze” at the prospect of a federal investigation.
“Will you at least commit to not having the investigation done by a person with a conflict of interest?” Cruz asked Garland.
“With all of these investigations, the Justice Department is open to evidence of fraud, false statements, violations of the law. They normally begin in the appropriate way in the relevant U.S. Attorney’s office,” Garland answered.” I don’t know any of the facts, but I can guarantee you somebody with a conflict of interest won’t be running an investigation of any kind.”
Stefanik told host Katie Pavlich that Garland’s answer shows “he’s not reading the basic news.”
As the American people are aware, this is a serious corruption scandal at the highest levels of New York State government,” she said. “We need a much clearer response from the nominee to be AG [commiting to] making sure there is an independent apolitical, fair investigation. And when it comes to obstruction of justice, these are not just accusations Katie, this was caught on tape.
“It was caught on tape on a Zoom call with the members of the New York State Assembly, which is why it is Democrats as well who are speaking out about the need to have an independent federal investigation and also, some are proposing impeachment of the governor and the governer, I have said, should resign.”
Families of those who lost loved ones in New York nursing homes, Stefanik added, “deserve a commitment for the AG nominee that this would be an independent investigation, and he’d better get up to speed quickly because that answer is not good enough for the American people.”