Update: CNN says anchor Chris Cuomo is off the air following the release of documents showing that he had been more involved with brother Andrew Cuomo's sexual harassment scandal than the network had believed. Documents released Monday showed that the top-rated anchor offered to use his sources to research accusers, find out what other allegations might surface against the New York governor, and check on the status of stories at other outlets. CNN said Cuomo had admitted breaking the rules by offering advice to his brother's staff but the documents "point to a greater level of involvement" than it was aware of. "As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation," the network said, per the New York Times. Our story from Monday follows:
There are calls for Chris Cuomo to be fired after documents released Monday by the New York attorney general's office showed the CNN host was much more intimately involved in his brother's sexual harassment scandal than he's previously indicated. Text messages between Chris Cuomo and top Andrew Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa show Chris Cuomo allegedly using his journalistic contacts and resources to research accusers and look into upcoming news coverage about his brother, including the Ronan Farrow investigative piece. Coverage, CNN's reaction, and how the news is playing:
- "On it": The Washington Post has an extensive rundown of the text messages, including ones where Chris Cuomo appeared to cooperate with DeRosa's requests for "intel" on not-yet-published stories. He also allegedly got information on his brother's accusers: "I have a lead on the wedding girl," he says in one text. Asked if he can go to his sources to see if more accusers were coming forward, he replied, per the AP, "On it." He also pushed to be more involved in crafting the former New York governor's response to the scandal, drafted a statement for him that was never ultimately used, and urged DeRosa, "no resign no resign no resign."
- CNN's response: "The thousands of pages of additional transcripts and exhibits ... deserve a thorough review and consideration," the network says in a statement. "We will be having conversations and seeking additional clarity about their significance as they relate to CNN over the next several days."
- Cuomos' responses, or lack thereof: Chris Cuomo, who has downplayed his role in his brother's scandal in the past (and who was hit with his own groping accusation this year, Fox News notes), appeared on his show Monday night without comment as to the newly released documents. Andrew Cuomo's rep, however, released a statement saying the AG's "obvious misuse of government resources to damage political opponents is as obvious and repugnant as it is unethical and illegal."
- Calls for his termination: Multiple journalists and media outlets are calling for CNN to kick the primetime host to the curb. "Chris Cuomo Must Go," reads the headline on David A. Graham's Atlantic piece. Rolling Stone's headline: "Chris Cuomo Caught Doing Something That Would Get Any Other Journalist Fired."
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