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Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who accused him of sexual harassment, spoke out against his earlier denial of inappropriate behavior, telling CBS News that the governor's comments were "dangerous" and "victim blaming."

Driving the news: At a press conference earlier Tuesday, Cuomo specifically addressed the allegations made by his ex-aide, Charlotte Bennett, admitting he "did ask her questions I don't normally ask people," but he flatly denied other details of her allegations.

What they're saying: Asked if Cuomo's denial amounted to gaslighting, Bennett answered "absolutely."

  • "He is trying to justify himself by making me out to be someone who can't tell the difference between sexual harassment and mentorship ... I am not confused. It is not confusing," she said.
  • Bennett added that Cuomo broke federal and state laws by sexually harassing her and other staffers, and said if the governor refuses to resign, lawmakers should move to impeach him.
  • Bennett added that while Cuomo could publicly deny the allegations against him, "privately, he knows that he sexually harassed staffers."
  • The governor's denial "is normalizing not only victim blaming but sexual harassment. He is saying that women come forward with their stories, and we don't need to take it seriously," Bennett noted.

The big picture: The results of an independent investigation found Tuesday that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women by engaging in unwanted and inappropriate groping, kissing, hugging and comments.

  • The Albany County district attorney announced Tuesday it opened a criminal investigation into the allegations against the governor.
  • Cuomo refused to resign Tuesday, saying "the facts are much different than what has been portrayed" and reiterating that "never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances."
  • President Biden and other top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have called for Cuomo's resignation.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2021 - World

Israeli leader surprised Biden hardly raised China during visit

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Biden talk during Bennett's trip to the U.S. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had prepared for wide-ranging discussions on China with President Biden and other senior U.S. officials, but the issue hardly came up, an Israeli official who attended the Biden-Bennett meeting tells me.

Why it matters: Chinese involvement in Israel became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments, with the Trump administration warning of damage to the U.S.-Israel security relationship, but former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dragging his feet on the issue.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.