CNN has suspended Chris Cuomo indefinitely as it investigates his involvement into advising his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, that he previously disclosed.
“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense,” a CNN spokesperson said. “The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”
A CNN rep said that Anderson Cooper — in addition to anchoring his regular segment at 5p.m. PT — will fill Cuomo’s daily 6p.m. PT slot, making Cooper’s show 2 hours long.
CNN’s TV programming did not cover the breaking news of Cuomo’s suspension while its website ran a story prominently atop its homepage as breaking news. Cooper addressed Cuomo’s suspension five minutes before Cuomo’s scheduled show would have begun with a news reader.
On Monday, new documents, released by the office of the New York Attorney General, revealed that Cuomo went to greater lengths while advising his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, that he previously disclosed. The documents from the investigation of the sexual harassment accusations that forced Andrew Cuomo to resign, show that Chris Cuomo used his contacts as a journalist to attempt to learn information about the accusers.
“I would – when asked, I would reach out to sources, other journalists, to see if they had heard of anybody else coming out,” Cuomo told investigators, according to transcripts.
In addition, the documents reveal, Chris Cuomo was regularly in touch with Andrew Cuomo’s adviser Melissa DeRosa. A text message proves that in March, just days after a woman named Anna Ruch accused Andrew Cuomo of attempting to kiss her at a wedding, Chris Cuomo told DeRosa, “I have a lead on the wedding girl.”
Around the same time, Cuomo told viewers he “obviously” could not cover the accusations against Andrew. However, he did not disclose that he was already serving as a de facto adviser.
In a different text, DeRosa asked Cuomo also discussed a then-upcoming Ronan Farrow piece; during the exchange she flat out asked him “did u get anymore intel?”
According to the documents, Chris Cuomo also lobbied to help the Governor’s Office directly, even going so far as to compose potential statements and give editorial passes to other statements.
CNN has previously stood by Cuomo even as increasingly problematic new information about his involvement with Andrew Cuomo’s defense emerged, and even as those details angered other CNN employees. Back in August, CNN’s Brian Stelter all but confirmed that Cuomo’s ratings were protecting him from any real punishment. “Viewers wanted to see him on TV, and let’s be honest, this is TV, so that’s not a totally irrelevant factor.”
Dessi Gomez contributed to this report.