But as it became clearer that the State Assembly intended to seek his impeachment, the situation grew less tenable. Under New York’s rules, if a governor is impeached by the Assembly, he or she must step aside even before a Senate trial has reached a verdict. Mr. Cuomo, accustomed to the trappings of power, would have been loath to sit through a trial as effectively a private citizen, people who know him say.
“Today was all about buying him 14 days to figure out the next phase of his life, as opposed to an impeachment vote which would have triggered his immediate removal from his actual home and the executive chamber,” said State Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Nassau County Democrat.
“He wants to leave on his own terms, and he wants it to be as comfortable and least embarrassing as possible and he bought himself 14 days to do that,” he added. “I don’t think voters feel any differently about the acts, the nauseating conduct, in the attorney general’s report.”
Asked if Mr. Cuomo could run again, Mr. Kaminsky replied, “I absolutely do not think so.”
Just before Mr. Cuomo spoke on Tuesday, his lawyer, Rita Glavin, made a lengthy presentation, criticizing the news media and lacing into the details in the report.
After she laid the groundwork, Mr. Cuomo came to his own defense. The political environment was to blame for his predicament, he claimed.
Even on the brink of resignation, Mr. Cuomo seemed to believe that he could have won in the court of public opinion, had he only had more time.
“This is about politics, and our political system today is too often driven by the extremes: rashness has replaced reasonableness, loudness has replaced soundness,” he said. “If I could communicate the facts through the frenzy, New Yorkers would understand. I believe that.”
Representative Ritchie Torres, a Bronx Democrat, likened Mr. Cuomo’s trajectory to a Greek tragedy.
“It’s the most precipitous collapse in the history of gubernatorial politics,” he said. “And as with all Greek tragedies, at the heart of it all is hubris.”