The Legislature had previously announced 16 applicants to be questioned by the committee, which was down to 13 on Tuesday, following dropouts from David Yassky, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission who is also a former member of the New York City Council; former Assistant Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez; and Hudson Valley Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. Underwood, the solicitor general who is serving as acting attorney general, led off.
"I think it's an understatement to say that none of us expected to be sitting here today for this goal", Underwood told senators and Assembly members gathered Tuesday at a meeting room in the state Capitol complex.
Thomas claims former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman conducted an illegal investigation. Schneiderman has denied the accusations. And she said she will pursue policies and cases now in motion, including more than 100 lawsuits that Schneiderman filed against President Donald Trump and his administration.
"I am not a politician", Underwood said.
"There's some truth to that", Underwood said. "There's some truth to that, but I can assure you that is not who I am".
Underwood told state lawmakers that she's not interested in running for office November and intends only to serve out the rest of Schneiderman's term if the Legislature appoints her interim attorney general. "The result is that this important office is vacant at a critical time for our state and country".
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"I'm not suggesting that I'm more qualified, I'm suggesting that I have different qualifications and that other qualification is having served in public office and that I'm aware of the policy issues", Abinanti said. "I'm trying to do everything".
Among those who have spoken positively of Underwood, a Democrat, is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Suffolk County Republican. Several newspaper editorials have voiced support for her. His resignation opened up the attorney general spot for which two sitting House members were being whispered about.
"The legislature shall appoint", Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. "I think the framers of the constitution were smarter than we were, to allow us to provide the checks and balances against the executive branch that are necessary".
Voters will choose an attorney for a full four-year term in the fall. Mike Gianaris, Public Advocate Letitia James, former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara - opted to sit out the selection process.
The pool applicants for interim attorney general include several other women. "I am confident that New Yorkers will choose an Attorney General who is worthy of our faith and our trust".