Amid a CNN Storm, Chris Cuomo Is Asked if He Advised Andrew Cuomo To Quit

On the day New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation, his brother refused to confirm if he had advised him to step down.

Chris Cuomo is on a week-long break from his CNN talk show, Cuomo Prime Time, on what he has described as a scheduled vacation coinciding with his birthday. He turned 51 on Monday.

But the break also happened to come as his elder brother faced widespread calls to resign after a report released by the New York State attorney general concluded the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.

Andrew Cuomo has denied wrongdoing, but announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying "given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and therefore, that's what I'll do."

That evening, a Fox News reporter approached his brother at a yacht yard in Sag Harbor, New York. "Have you spoken to your brother today, sir?" the reporter asked Chris Cuomo. "Of course I have," the anchor replied.

However, he didn't respond to follow-up questions asking if he had advised the governor to resign or if he was continuing to advise him.

"Do you think that's an ethical conflict?" the reporter then asked. "I think you got a job to do, I'm going to let you do it," Chris Cuomo responded.

The New York Times reported that Chris Cuomo had spoken on the phone with his brother numerous times over the past week and advised him to resign.

CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter confirmed the Times report during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night, citing his own source who said Chris Cuomo had urged his brother to step down.

The anchor apologized on his show in May after it emerged he had discussions with his brother's aides about how to respond to the scandal. CNN said Chris Cuomo's involvement in the discussions was "inappropriate."

The network barred him from discussing strategy with the governor's aides after, but did not prohibit him from speaking directly with his brother about it, according to the Times.

TONIGHT: @BrianStelter talks about the "wide range of opinions" inside CNN regarding anchor Chris Cuomo's coverage of his brother Andrew. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/27Z02RTNa3

— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) August 11, 2021

"They said, of course you're going to talk to your brother," Stelter told Colbert on Tuesday night's show.

Stelter also confirmed that CNN has barred Chris Cuomo from discussing the scandal engulfing his brother on his show. In February, the network reinstated its ban on the anchor covering his brother after a federal probe began investigating the governor's handling of nursing home deaths.

Colbert questioned why the network had allowed the governor to appear so often on his brother's show during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. "That seems like an odd conflict of rules," Colbert said.

"It's the craziest set of circumstances you can imagine, right?" Stelter responded. "A governor and a brother, both in these high-profile jobs. This was definitely awkward for CNN, though."

Stelter also said the issue had angered some at CNN.

"Some people are mad at him," he said. "I talked to a lot of sources at CNN. Some said, 'yeah, this is really weird, I'm ticked off at Chris.' Others said, 'you know, I understand, you can't pick who your family members are.' So there was a wide range of opinions and overall, I think what was most important is that we covered the story on air just as we would any other story."

A CNN spokesperson directed Newsweek to past statements about Chris Cuomo when asked for comment.

"Chris has not been involved in CNN's extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo—on air or behind the scenes," CNN said in a May statement.

"In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother. However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor's staff, which Chris acknowledges. He will not participate in such conversations going forward."

Update 11/8, 10.30 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include comment from CNN.

Chris Cuomo
Christopher Cuomo attends the The Hollywood Reporter's 9th Annual Most Powerful People In Media at The Pool on April 11, 2019 in New York City. Theo Warger/Getty Images for THR