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The Atlantic

Chris Cuomo Must Go

New revelations show the CNN anchor betrayed his obligation to his viewers.

Andrew Cuomo’s resignation as governor of New York might have been a godsend for CNN. The network faced a nearly intractable conflict of interest: The governor was a major national figure, but his brother, Chris, was also one of CNN’s prime-time stars. Instead, the fallout from Andrew Cuomo’s departure has made Chris Cuomo’s position untenable. He should resign; if he doesn’t, CNN should sack him. On Monday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose investigation into sexual-harassment complaints against the Democratic governor precipitated his August resignation, released new documents that show how Chris mixed his roles as brother and broadcaster. The documents show that he was engaged in passing information to a top aide to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, as his brother’s team scrambled to respond to accusations. “I have a lead on the wedding girl,” he texted DeRosa, referring to a woman who complained that Andrew had made an unwanted advance at a wedding. “When asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Chris explained in an interview with the attorney general’s office. He said he had only been seeking info about whether other complaints against his brother were forthcoming, not trying to dig up dirt on accusers. “I would never do oppo research on anybody alleging anything like this. I’m not in the oppo research business.” This is not the first revelation about Chris Cuomo’s flawed handling of the scandal. Long before the allegations against Andrew, CNN had tried to find a finely sliced solution: Chris wouldn’t cover his brother’s travails on air, and he could confer with his brother on a personal basis, but he shouldn’t deal with the governor’s staff. The Washington Post reported in May, however that Chris had participated in meetings with staff members. He apologized on air, and CNN issued a statement saying, “It was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” but that he had not been disciplined.

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