Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s battles with prosecutors started years before last week’s New York state attorney general’s report came out, The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow reports. In a previously unreported 2014 episode, Cuomo called White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to complain about then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation into Cuomo’s shuttered Moreland Commission probing political corruption. “This guy’s out of control,” Cuomo told Jarrett, according to Farrow. “He’s your guy.” Jarrett ended the call before Cuomo could make a request and subsequently reported the call to the White House Counsel’s Office, fearing it could be construed as potential obstruction of justice. Legal experts said the incident could be used in connection with the state’s impeachment inquiry into Cuomo over sexual misconduct allegations, as it may have violated state ethics rules. “If he, in fact, called a U.S. Attorney’s bosses and implied, ‘Stop this guy from looking into me,’ that could easily amount to an impeachable offense,” Jessica Levinson, the director of Loyola Law School’s Public Service Institute, told Farrow.
The New Yorker piece also recounts a number of struggles between Cuomo’s office and Moreland Commission leaders, including how his office bit back when the independent commission got too close to his allies. “I saw them destroy people,” said Danya Perry, the commission’s chief of investigations. “And I did really fear that it could be me.”