Just in case you were wondering what New York state’s newly-resolved dispute with the Seneca Nation over Thruway repairs on Seneca territory had to do with the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo connected the dots Wednesday.
Cuomo said in both cases, the Republican administration viewed the Department of Justice as a “political attack mechanism.”
“Congressman Reed in true form of the Trump administration calls for the Department of Justice to investigate me because the Thruway’s not repairing the road, which is interesting because it’s emblematic of how the Republicans use the Justice Department,” the governor said during an interview on WAMC with Alan Chartock.
A conversation between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred the impeachment inquiry. During the conversation, Trump said he would direct Attorney General William Barr to contact Zelensky about a potential investigation of Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son, and possible interference in a Ukrainian investigation into a company with which Biden’s son was involved.
Cuomo suggested it represented the same tactic Reed used in calling for a DOJ investigation into whether the governor was abusing his power by not fixing the Thruway and possibly endangering the public by withholding resources as leverage in an unrelated dispute over casino revenue. The governor once again called those accusations unfounded.
“Reed calls for my investigation by the Department of Justice, which by the way is U.S. attorneys who are all appointed politically, without a scintilla of evidence. What theory is there for the federal government to investigate me because the Thruway Authority isn’t allowed to fix a piece of road controlled by the Senecas,” he said.
The two politicians have feuded over the road for weeks, with their offices exchanging snarky statements, and Reed holding two press conferences. With the Thruway Authority and the Senecas finally reaching an agreement Wednesday, Reed credited his DOJ request as a factor that pushed it along.
“Fixing the road is the right thing to do for the safety of the travelling public,” he said. “We were happy to lead the public outcry over the road conditions for the hardworking people we care about and represent, and we will continue to be your voice in both Albany and Washington, D.C.”
Cuomo’s senior advisor Rich Azzopardi said if Reed thought his “ham-fisted publicity stunts actually accomplished anything substantive that sadly tells you everything you need to know about Trump’s Washington.”
Reed responded on Twitter like this: