Liz Benjamin

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The Weekend That Was

Under tight security in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, tens of thousands of worshipers from around the word thronged to an Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, in which he called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict.

President Donald Trump again called for an end to the filibuster and said there will be no deal with Democrats on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.

In two more tweets this morning, Trump threatened to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he called Mexico’s “cash cow,” if the country doesn’t reduce the flow of immigrants coming across the southern US border.

Trump ended his Good Friday Twitter fast with a trio of Saturday morning tweets that picked up where he left off on Thursday – railing against Amazon.

The head of the federal Department of Justice’s death penalty unit has been removed from his job after being investigated at least 12 times on charges of sexism and favoritism.

The lawyer for Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, said his counterpart in Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit is a “PR machine” who’s keeping the porn star’s allegations of a sexual affair with the president in the headlines despite the story being “nonsensical.”

It was sweet redemption for Charles Kushner last year when his son Jared was named senior White House adviser, and he hoped he might even get a presidential pardon. But the high-profile post has only brought more grief, not redemption, for the family.

The cries for embattled Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty to step down for not protecting female staffers who said they experienced violence, death threats and sexual harassment by her former chief of staff intensified, with fellow Democrats saying the allegations were shocking and she needed to “do the right thing.”

Rep. Dan Donovan, a former district attorney who now represents Staten Island and part of South Brooklyn, stepped in after his domestic partner’s son was arrested with a friend for “criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance (heroin),” according to an allegation filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics last week.

The lawsuit brought by family members of those killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been watched closely over years of winding its way through the court system. But a new hurdle – the bankruptcy of Remington, a defendant in the suit – stands in the way of a much-awaited ruling.

The sister of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former aide Joe Percoco, who was recently found guilty of corruption charges, landed in hot water herself after missing hundreds of days at her Staten Island teaching job.

In a mix of frenzied bill passing and sitting around throughout the day and night Friday, state lawmakers early Saturday adopted a new state budget that hikes state education aid by more than the inflation rate, rejects hundreds of millions in tax increases proposed by Cuomo and sets new policies for the handling of workplace sexual harassment cases.

The budget would grant New Yorkers some protection from the Republican-steered federal tax plan, providing for an optional employer-side payroll tax to replace an employee-side state income tax, and creating two state charitable funds for health and education, with donations deducted from taxpayers’ federal and state tax returns.

Seated in the State Capitol’s historic Red Room to make the budget deal announcement, flanked by several top advisers, Cuomo made it clear, again and again, that he intended to lay a heavy hand on matters concerning New York City, and, by extension, on matters concerning his intraparty rival, Mayor Bill de Blasio.

After months of refusing to pay for emergency subway repairs, Mayor de Blasio on Saturday announced that the city would finally cough up its $418-million share of the emergency repair plan created last year by MTA boss Joe Lhota.

NYC public housing residents got some good news in the budget, including $250 million to upgrade apartments and a special procurement work-around to get the job done faster. But the state will create an independent entity to oversee the construction that the money pays for.

There was little about congestion pricing in the state budget despite months of lobbying by advocates, a six-figure media campaign, and rallies by transit riders.

There is, however, a new fee for anyone who rides taxis, Ubers, Lyfts or any other car service below 96th Street in Manhattan.

New York gun owners convicted of misdemeanors in domestic-violence cases would have their firearms taken away under a bill lawmakers approved along with the new state budget.

The budget also includes a new policy that requires school districts to report more details about how they plan to spend the money on a school-by-school basis.

Cuomo isn’t giving up on a bill that would help child sex abuse victims obtain justice as adults — even though the measure was left out of the state budget, saying he’ll continue to push for the Child Victims Act, along with other policy items not in the final deal, in the post-budget session.

After years of review in the case of former Niagara Falls Sen. George Maziarz, and no charges brought, a question remains: What happened to hundreds of thousands of dollars of questionable spending flagged by the state Board of Elections for prosecutors to review?

In a victory for sexual assault survivors, the $168.3 billion state budget agreement extends the length of time rape kits are stored in New York.

Hours after the Legislature approved the state’s new budget, Cuomo celebrated by hosting his annual Easter open house at the Executive Mansion with longtime girlfriend Sandra Lee.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is now a full-throated supporter of the SAFE Act, which he was reluctant to get on board with back in 2013 when it passed.

NYC greenlit an expansion of the American Museum of Natural History because it misconstrued a 142-year-old law, claims a nonprofit seeking to scuttle the project.

The Brooklyn Museum has sparked outrage in the black community after tapping a white woman to curate its vast African art collection.

The man who killed 10 people in one of the largest mass shootings in New York City in decades was released from prison earlier this year. The killer, Christopher Thomas, shot eight children and two women in a home in Brooklyn in 1984, a crime that came to be known as the Palm Sunday Massacre.

A NYC inspector, John Rosato, claims a deputy director in the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, where Rosato has worked since 2016, regularly touched him and slapped his butt, according to a lawsuit.

Dutchesss County Executive Marc Molinaro is set to publicly launch his campaign for governor tomorrow, according to his campaign.

“Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon says she has a simple response to voters who question whether she has the experience necessary to run for governor of New York. “You know me as an actor,” she told The Associated Press in an interview this past week. “But I’m so much more than an actor.”

David Sweat, who escaped from Cinton Correctional Facility in 2015 and was recaptured, is hoping to marry his girlfriend – the mother of a 6-year-old girl she brings to visit her prisoner boyfriend – behind bars even though the couple will never be able to live as man and wife.

A sure sign that spring is here: Potholes.

The DEC announced that the annual breeding migrations of salamanders and frogs are underway. Drivers are encouraged to proceed with caution because the animals are in danger of being squashed by passing cars.

Thousands of dead fish are floating on the water and washing up on the shore of Lake Champlain in the area of South Bay in Whitehall, but nobody knows why.

Fort Ticonderoga has received a grant for the conservation of a rare British flag from the Revolutionary War.

Extras

Some headlines to peruse as we await a final budget deal announcement…

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s protective detail broke down the door at the Capitol Hill condo where he was living, believing he was unconscious and unresponsive and needed rescue, in a bizarre incident last year that the EPA has for months refused to discuss.

The EPA has put its review of whether Hudson River PCB dredging has been successful on hold while it evaluates new information from New York state, EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez said.

Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg dug in against Fox News host Laura Ingraham, refusing to accept her apology or appear on her show until she becomes “more objective.”

The widow of the Orlando nightclub shooter was found not guilty of helping her husband plan the attack that left 49 people dead.

Attorney Gloria Allred has dropped client Summer Zervos, one of the women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct before he was elected.

Critics say new protections against workplace sexual harassment are inadequate, although it’s likely that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders likely will hail them as a key achievement.

Welcome to my new Spectrum News colleague, Dan Bazile.

Sixteen state attorneys general – including New York’s Eric Schneiderman – along with Washington D.C. filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the state of Hawaii’s case against the Trump administration’s latest ban prohibiting travel from several majority-Muslim nations.

An annual professional golf tournament near Binghamton became an unlikely flashpoint today during a tense debate in the state Senate over a portion of the state’s $168.5 billion budget plan.

Rep.Elizabeth Esty, a Connecticut Democrat who has been an advocate for women’s issues and a critic of colleagues accused of sexual harassment amid the #Me Too reckoning, has come under fire for her failure to promptly dismiss a top aide accused of sexual misconduct.

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway mocked Hillary Clinton over paid speeches while appearing on Fox News. This time, though, the Trump surrogate and counselor needled the former of secretary of state over pulling in a paltry “$25,000” for a speaking gig.

When Clinton spoke at Rutgers University last night, she was paid $25,000, which is $7,000 less than MTV reality star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi received from an appearance at the university in 2011.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is poised to announce his campaign for governor Monday, is going to run on the premise that he is a good guy, and Cuomo is not.

When he was a NYC councilman, David Greenfield decided to get healthy by eating more protein. As the new CEO for the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, he decided to do the same for the 180,000 people who rely on their Passover food donations, too.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 70, reportedly underwent emergency open-heart surgery yesterday due to complications from a related experimental procedure, and is in stable condition.

If the 13-month-old del Lago Resort & Casino can’t make enough money to stay afloat, a national gaming expert says, there’s a solution for that: Bankruptcy, not a taxpayer-funded bailout.

The Long Island Power Authority increased its workforce in 2017 to its highest level in four years, while average annual compensation rose by a cumulative 22 percent to just over $125,000, according to a Newsday analysis.

New York environmental officials are proposing a permit system for a highly popular Catskill Mountain swimming hole known as the Peekamoose Blue Hole.

For the first time in New York City history, a woman-owned financial firm has been tapped to manage $100 million of the Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP), the city’s voluntary retirement plan for more than 180,000 employees and retirees.

Adam McFadden, a Democrat who currently serves as the vice president for the Rochester City Council, has announced his plans to run for the NY-25 seat formerly occupied by the late Rep. Louise Slaughter.

With fears of losing a congressional seat, a Rhode Island state representative has created a bill to lure people to the state, proposing to pay “middle class” families up to $10,000 in tax credits or incentive payments to become residents for a year.

Nixon Receives Unlikely Back-Up (But Not An Endorsement)

From the Morning Memo:

In the face of a round of critical statements issued by organized labor groups allied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo following her oblique comments regarding the connection between union contracts and the high cost of digging NYC subway tunnels, Cynthia Nixon received some support from an unlikely source.

Brian Sampson, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State Chapter, released a statement on “MTA cost overruns and labor contracts” that did not mention the actress/activist-turned-Democratic-gubernatorial-candidate by name, but did say that the “facts” of what is happening at the cash-strapped MTA cannot be ignored, “regardless of your political stance or background.”

“We can see that senseless and wasteful cost overruns on construction projects are destroying New York City’s subway system and harming other public infrastructure priorities,” Sampson continued.

“It’s clear that politically connected unions are trying desperately to prevent New Yorkers from even having this conversation – and it’s equally clear that these same people are the only ones who benefit from the status quo on labor contracts at the MTA. It’s imperative we keep this conversation going, whether those in power like it or not.”

The Associated Builders and Contractors tends to lean right in its political support, having endorsed a number of Republican candidates and elected officials in recent years, and hasn’t been shy about criticizing Cuomo’s policies. Asked if the statement was intended as a show of support for Nixon, a spokesman for the organization replied:

“It is not an endorsement or defense of Nixon personally, but is a response to union leaders that have rolled out statements today aiming to shut down public discussion of the role that labor contracts have played in cost overruns at the MTA.”

Nixon this week told the publication amNY that given the deals unspecified unions have now, “you can’t hope to make improvements to the trains in a fiscally responsible way,” adding: “Everybody’s got to pull together, and everybody’s got to make sacrifices.”

A string of blistering statements from various labor organizations that have long backed Cuomo followed, slamming her for both this comment and another that questioned the efficacy of the state’s multimillion-dollar film and TV tax credit program.

“What does Cynthia Nixon know about the construction industry?” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York, asked in one such statement. “What does she know about the subways and the MTA? She says that she’s a progressive, but this kind of anti-union rhetoric shows that she is no friend of working men and women.”

This is part of an ongoing effort by Cuomo allies to paint Nixon an incompetent and unknowledgeable on a wide range of government issues. However, an early attempt, in which former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, vice chair of the state Democratic Party, referred to Nixon as an “unqualified lesbian,” backfired, causing Quinn to walk back her comments.

Nixon, however, has embraced the “unqualified lesbian” label, and is seeking to capitalize on its catchiness by putting it on campaign swag that she’s selling to raise money for her long-shot bid to unseat Cuomo.

Here and Now

Where we are on the state budget, which is due today in order to be on time, if lawmakers want to adhere to their self-imposed early deadline due to the start of Easter and Passover:

The Assembly and Senate both voted into the early hours of the morning, passing several noncontroversial budget bills – for example, a transportation funding measure that did not include anything for the MTA, which is an area that has caused considerable consternation this session.

No official three-way announcement, Red Room press conference, joint press release etc. has yet been seen. Lawmakers are still holding out hope that they will not have to resort to extender bills to keep the government up and running over their week-long break.

Just a few hours ago, the Senate decided to call it a night, and is scheduled to return to the Capitol soon to resume the budget watch. Senate Republicans are expected to gather for conference at 8 a.m., with session getting underway (optimistically speaking) at 9 a.m.

The Assembly, which didn’t even start voting on anything until just after midnight, was still at it as of shortly before 3 a.m., passing the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation budget bill in an (unofficial) vote of 112-18. It did not set a specific time to return to work this morning.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

President Donald Trump is in Washington, D.C. with no public events scheduled.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show and take calls from listeners.

At 4:30 a.m., de Blasio will see off retiring NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and thank her for her 52 years of service to New York City public schools, City Hall Park Path, Manhattan.

Headlines…

Though the Senate Republicans have repeatedly insisted they would not accept any of the new taxes and/or fees proposed by the governor in the state budget, the final deal is likely to include a tax on opioid manufacturers, surcharges on taxi and Uber rides in Manhattan and also a new, uniform sexual harassment policy for government workers.

Fights over at the new fee on opioid sales, school safety issues, education requirements for yeshivas and the amount of taxes that should be extracted from a major health insurance sale remained some of the sticking points late yesterday in the ongoing budget talks.

Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder’s demand that private yeshivas be exempted from meeting state standards for nonreligious instruction emerged as one of the last sticking points preventing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders from finalizing a $170 billion spending plan.

Senators claimed Cuomo was threatening to send lawmakers an emergency spending bill to temporarily keep the government running if there was no budget deal – but have the short-term authorization run until May. That would be after special elections on April 24 that include two contests in which Democrats could gain a numerical edge over Republicans.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is sharply criticizing a proposal from Cuomo to reshape the area around Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan.

“Any locality in the state should be very worried right now when they see that kind of proposal,” de Blasio said. “Because if the state comes along saying they’re going to make New York City’s decisions, New York City’s power to make decisions about its own city – well then you could do it in Buffalo, Syracuse, or Westchester County or Nassau County. It’s a very, very dangerous precedent.”

The insurance industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to influence Albany lawmakers in 2017, with several players listing the Child Victims Act as a bill to target.

Cuomo has directed the state Labor Department to investigate reports of threatening and coercive behavior at Albany Medical Center, where nurses are attempting to unionize.

The New York News Publishers Association is urging Cuomo to reconsider a measure requiring the disclosure of entities that purchase online political and advocacy ads.

A coalition of religious leaders from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist faiths urged Cuomo to embrace renewable power, rather than natural gas, to power electrical needs for the Empire State Plaza.

A campaign to unseat eight state Democratic senators, members of a renegade group that has helped empower Republicans to rule the Senate in Albany, received a significant boost from the NYC comptroller, Scott Stringer.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker threw her support for governor to her “Sex And The City” castmate Cynthia Nixon.

Not long after, a host of labor union leaders ripped Nixon for comments she made Wednesday about how labor deals have been driving up the cost of needed subway improvements.

Citing President Trump’s “racially charged language,” a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that a lawsuit seeking to preserve a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation could continue.

The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide.

Hope Hicks, the White House communications director who worked behind the scenes to direct the president through multiple professional crises — and decided to resign after she found herself exhausted by them — has left the building. Those left behind are wondering what happens now.

Trump heralded a new trade agreement with South Korea at his first public appearance in nearly a week yesterday, but then immediately suggested that he might delay finalizing it while negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program.

Ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin fired back at the Trump administration, blasting plans to privatize veterans’ health care as a “political issue.”

Trump’s dismissal of Shulkin, and the nomination of a Navy doctor with no known policy views to take his place, has brought renewed focus to an increasingly contentious debate over whether to give veterans the option of using the benefits they earned through military service to see private doctors rather than going to government hospitals and clinics.

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked an effort by the attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels to depose Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, over a $130,000 payment from Cohen to the actress before the 2016 presidential election.

Hillary Clinton hasn’t hit the campaign trail yet on behalf of Democrats running in 2018, but that isn’t stopping Republicans from using the former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee as a reliable campaign boogeyman.

In a concession to conservatives clamoring for new investigations into Clinton’s emails and the Justice Department’s actions in the Russia investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions named a federal prosecutor from Utah to head the review.

Sessions said that Utah US Attorney John Huber is investigating GOP lawmakers’ allegations against the FBI and that a special counsel is not needed to probe the case.

More >

Extras

A majority of Americans think President Donald Trump will lose his re-election bid in 2020, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, similar numbers to those facing former President Barack Obama at this point in his first term ahead of his re-election victory.

The Kremlin announced that it would expel 60 American diplomats, and probably dozens from other nations, intensifying Russia’s clash with Europe and the United States.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration but says he was terminated because he is a crucial witness in the Russia investigation, is raising funds to help cover costs defending against other ongoing government probes.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency head, Scott Pruitt, is in hot water for spending much of his first year in Washington, D.C. living in a Capitol Hill townhouse co-owned by the wife of a major energy lobbyist.

After seven years as governor, Andrew Cuomo has rewritten the disclaimer language on his campaign website that describes which of his appointees are banned from donating to his campaign, potentially opening the door for more appointees to contribute.

Cuomo is calling on the U.S.-Canadian panel that controls water output for Lake Ontario to maintain or increase its current outflow level to decrease the chance of flooding along the lake’s shoreline.

Unions allied with Cuomo are bashing Nixon for her oblique comment about labor deals draining away much-needed resources from the NYC subway system. (She later sought to clarify).

Sarah Jessica Parker is officially voting for her friend and former Sex and the City co-star, Nixon, in the gubernatorial race this fall.

A half dozen state senators said Cuomo hasn’t done enough to block a state Parole Board decision that will free convicted cop killer and Black Liberation Army member Herman Bell next month.

Online travel website TripAdvisor is planning to stop advertising on Laura Ingraham’s show after the Fox News host posted a critical tweet about David Hogg, a Parkland, Fla., high school student – and it’s not alone, even though she issued an apology.

Backers of teacher tenure lost another battle to defend the job-protection practice when a Brooklyn court refused to toss a lawsuit challenging it.

Hillary Clinton is making $25,000 for a speech she’s giving at Rutger’s today – significantly less than she has commanded in the past. (She’s donating the money to charity).

Troubled chopper tour company FlyNYON is still selling its signature “doors off” flights — even though they were made illegal after one ended in an East River crash that killed five.

New York is likely to sue the Trump administration over a proposed rule intended to allow health care providers to decline to provide medical care — like abortion or sex reassignment surgery — for “religious, moral, ethical,” or other reasons.

AG Eric Schneiderman called the state’s data law “outdated and toothless” while noting that data breaches rose to a record in 2017.

Sen. Simcha Felder appears to have a sweetheart deal for his campaign headquarters from the same landlord who rents the elected official his state office.

On opening day of baseball season, Marist released a poll showing the proportion of Americans who say they are baseball fans matches its lowest in nearly ten years.

Police say they have arrested a Suffolk County District Court judge for burglarizing an East Islip home.

Goodbye, Imus.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

The state Legislature is in Albany. A deal on the budget must be had within the next 24 hours, if lawmakers want to stick to their self-imposed deadline necessitated by the Easter and passover holidays.

President Donald Trump is traveling this morning to Richfield, OH, where he will deliver remarks on his infrastructure initiative at the Local 18 Richfield Training Site. After his speech, Trump will head to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, FL.

At 8 a.m., the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District and Union Square Partnership co-host a special breakfast with New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Almond Restaurant, 12 E. 22nd St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., former NYC Councilman and state Senate candidate Robert Jackson makes an “important” campaign announcement, 87th Street Subway Station, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and other elected officials will honor local Vietnam Veterans in commemoration of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Monroe County, the Roger Robach Community Center, 180 Beach Ave., Rochester.

At 10:30 a.m., OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Assemblyman John McDonald and Sen. Cathy Young participate in the unveiling of a plaque honoring Samuel J. Abbott, a civil War veteran who lost his life while serving as a night watchman during the Capitol fire 1911, outside legislative library, 3rd Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will attend a “Celebration of Life” ceremony for U.S. Air Force Major and FDNY Fire Marshal Christopher Zanetis, Washington Square Park, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz holds a public hearing on land use for an amendment to the city map, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer will be joined by the state Homes and Community Renewal commissioner, community leaders, affordable housing advocates and the developer of Vienna Senior Housing for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the opening of affordable senior housing, 250 Theodore Fremd Ave., Rye.

At 10:50 a.m., members of the Senate GOP conference, led by Sens. Marty Golden and Pat Gallivan, provide an update on their efforts to keep 1970s-era cop killer Herman Bell behind bars, outside the majority conference room, 3rd Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11 a.m., religious leaders call for renewable energy in Albany, state Capitol, War Room, second floor, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will release a new report on data breaches impacting New Yorkers, and also discuss his office’s investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, AG’s regional office in Rochester, 144 Exchange Boulevard, Suite 200.

At noon, the National Organization for Women New York City holds a press conference calling for immediate action from Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill in light of a report that revealed that often sex crimes are not properly investigated, One Police Plaza, Manhattan.

Also at noon, LG Kathy Hochul dedicates a POW/MIA chair in Honor of Veterans and Military Service Members, State Capitol, Blue Room, Albany.

At 3 p.m., de Blasio will host a press conference to make a technology announcement,Civic Hall, 118 W 22nd St., 12th Floor, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., de Blasio deliver remarks at NYU’s Kimmel Center, Eibner Auditorium, 60 Washington Square South, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Yvette Clarke and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer are honored at Healthfirst’s annual Women’s History Month Community Awards and Celebration, Maestro’s, 1703 Bronxdale Ave., Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte hosts two women in finance seminars in honor of Women’s History Month, The Bridge Multicultural Advocacy Project, 1894 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 8 p.m., McCray will deliver remarks at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s North Atlantic Regional Conference, Hilton Hotel Midtown, 1335 6th Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Amid discussions of a $168 billion budget, a range of potentially sweeping new state policies, and a wild coyote seen near the Capitol, it took the arrest of a reporter to prompt Gov. Andrew Cuomo to meet the Albany press corps.

The reporter, Daily News Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Lovett, who has been covering state government for decades, was arrested by the State Police for talking on his cell phone in the lobby of the Capitol outside the state Senate, in violation of a Senate rule.

Lovett was sprung after the Senate declined to press charges — and was escorted out by none other than Cuomo, who’d gone down to the Capitol lockup try and spring him.

“I wanted to make sure he had a good counsel and that’s why I offered my services on a pro bono basis,” Cuomo told reporters shortly after he helped free Lovett.

Cuomo remained virtually unfazed as a disturbed woman crashed his impromptu press conference outside the State Police barracks on the Empire State concourse, dropping F-bombs and making sexual harassment accusations.

A ride-sharing fee and NYCHA monitor are in the latest version of the budget as Cuomo and legislative leaders close in on a final deal, the governor said.

A proposal by Cuomo to expand sales tax collections on online purchases is not expected to be part of a state budget agreement, according to state Sen. Phil Boyle and other legislative officials.

Of all the governor’s proposed new taxes and fees, only the imposition of a new tax on prescription opioids – raising $127 million a year – has gained approval among negotiators as the April 1 deadline approaches for a new budget.

The governor, in a play tried before, dangled the prospects of a pay raise for legislators – if they pass the budget on time before the March 31 deadline.

State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins pushed back on the governor’s claim that a “working group” that includes a representative from her office is hammering out a deal on how to address sexual harassment both in state government and the private sector.

Actress and education activist Cynthia Nixon has grabbed a lot of headlines since entering the Democratic primary race for governor, but still lags far behind Cuomo in New York City, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Sarah Jessica Parker may not support Nixon’s campaign for governor of New York, and her silence dooms any possibility of a third “Sex and the City” movie, anonymous sources tell Page Six.

Cuomo is pushing a late plan to be included in the state budget that would potentially allow the state to grab land around Penn Station for development. The issue opened not only yet another rift with City Hall but also NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson and several state lawmakers.

The proposal would allow the Empire State Development Corp. to create a development district or special Penn Station zone — from 34th Street to 32nd Street between Sixth and Eighth Avenues as well to 30th Street west of Seventh Avenue.

The struggling del Lago Casino in the Finger Lakes is looking for a government bailout just 13 months after it opened — despite Cuomo promising that new casinos ­upstate would be a win-win.

Del Lago’s push for a state tax break hit a major detour when Cuomo said he was “not sympathetic” to granting new concessions to the private investors behind the gambling complex in Tyre.

After weeks of uncertainty atop the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Trump dismissed its secretary, David Shulkin, and announced he would replace him with the White House physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy.

Rick Gates, a top Trump campaign official, had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a document released by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election.

The Justice Department’s inspector general, facing increasing political pressure from Republicans in Congress and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said that his office would investigate the surveillance of a former Trump campaign official, Carter Page.

The White House acknowledged the Gateway project would be good for the economy, despite President Trump’s ongoing resistance to funding the New York-New Jersey tunnel project.

More >

Extras

A lawyer for Trump reportedly broached the idea of the president pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael T. Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year. (The White House denies this).

Andrew Ekonomou, a former prosecutor with a doctorate in medieval history, is reportedly expected to take on a prominent role on Trump’s legal team.

Trump cheered a decision by officials in Orange County, Calif. to join a federal lawsuit seeking to block California’s so-called sanctuary laws.

All 22 female U.S. senators, Republicans and Democrats, penned a joint letter to Senate leaders complaining of their “deep disappointment” that the Senate has “failed” to push through sexual harassment reform for congressional workers.

A federal judge said that a lawsuit alleging gifts or payments from foreign and domestic governments made to Trump may be illegal can proceed.

With Hope Hicks leaving the White House, White House staffers are apparently dreading the “post-Hicks era.”

The EPA last night sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the struggling del Lago casino in the Finger Lakes will have to go boom or bust on its own as the owners lobby for a state bailout, explaining: “The upstate gaming casinos are private concerns.”

Cuomo’s office is trying to insert language into this year’s budget that would give New York state expansive new powers to redevelop the area surrounding Penn Station.

New York City voters approve 48-38 percent of the job NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing, his lowest grade since a 45-46 percent approval rating in January 2017, a new Q poll found.

The same poll found that NYC voters approve 56-37 percent of the job Cuomo is doing, and say 58-22 percent that he would be better for the city than Cynthia Nixon. Democrats say 64-21 percent that Cuomo would be better.

Nixon visited a Brooklyn Housing project to attack Cuomo’s sudden interest in reversing the longstanding deterioration of public housing in New York City, but ended up slamming both the governor and her friend and ally, de Blasio, after being shocked by what she saw.

“(W)hen I am the governor, I am sure that the mayor and I will disagree on a whole host of issues, but I can promise you we won’t get into this kind of a pissing contest,” Nixon said after visiting a few apartments.

State Senate spokesman Scott Reif on the Ken Lovett arrest: “The incident escalated quickly and unfortunately he was detained by the State Police. We have formally requested that he be released and very much regret the incident.”

For at least the fifth consecutive legislative session, bills that would open the door to doctors prescribing lethal doses for terminally ill patients were dropped from consideration by the Public Health Committee in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato’s wife plans to show a hidden cell-phone video of her estranged husband hurling expletives at her as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from neck surgery at their custody trial next month.

Former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano treated U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to a free lunch — because Mangano knew he wouldn’t get a bill, the restaurant’s crooked owner testified today.

The reports from the past few days have been confirmed: the New York Mets assigned Tim Tebow to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

“The United States is currently suffering through a crisis of local journalism.”

A state attorney at the Office of Children and Family Services who filed 36 false timesheets has resigned and repaid more than $12,000 she illegally received.

Cuomo isn’t the only governor with a new puppy.

The Budget Coyote is free.

RIP, Mert the guard goose.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule. The budget clocking is ticking…

The state Legislature is in session in Albany.

Vice President Mike Pence is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This morning, he delivers keynote remarks at an America First Policies “Tax Cuts to Put America First” event, and then heads back to D.C> aboard Air Force II.

At 8 a.m., Crain’s New York Business hosts a business breakfast with Rick Chandler, commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park S., Manhattan.

Also at 8 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon attend the NYC District Council of Carpenters’ annual open house and exhibit, 395 Hudson St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and state Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon Attend the NYC District Council of Carpenters’ Annual Open House and Exhibit, 395 Hudson St., Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will visit tenants at NYCHA’s Albany Houses in Crown Heights with gubernatorial candidate and actress Cynthia Nixon, spotlighting chronic issues facing public housing in Brooklyn, a borough that is home to 99 developments with more than 58,000 apartments, 1414 Bergen St.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., New York City Transit President Andy Byford will field questions on Twitter for 90 minutes.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Citizens Union will announce (via conference call) the latest findings of its annual “Spending in the Shadows” report, illuminating $11.7 billion in nonspecific lump sum funding “pots” found in the New York FY 2019 Executive Budget.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, WCNY.

Also at 11 a.m., over a dozen advocacy organizations from across the state are convening in Albany in support of a budget “that provides for New Yorkers health, well-being and future,” Million Dollar Staircase, 3rd Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. distributes food packages for Passover with the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, 3001 W. 37th St., Brooklyn.

At 12:30 p.m., Hochul participates in a discussion with students at a “meet the leaders” event at the Theatre Arts Production Company School, 2225 Webster Ave., the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., all segments of the taxi industry (Taxi Workers Alliance, NYETA, TMODA) will be rallying at City Hall with four coffins to symbolize the spate of driver/owner suicides, Manhattan.

At 3:30 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney hosts a listening session for students concerned about gun safety in our schools, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, 411 E. 76th St., Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., Hochul speaks about the state’s efforts to combat sexual assault in the workplace, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Shiva Art Gallery, 860 11th Ave., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks and accepts an award at City & State’s Above & Beyond awards ceremony, Dream Downtown, 355 W 16th St., Manhattan.

Also at 6:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Councilman Danny Dromm will participate in a town hall meeting with residents of the 25th Council district, including the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, I.S. 145, 33-34 80th St., Queens.

At 7 p.m., Díaz Jr. speaks at a special screening of the CNN en Espanol documentary “Deportados,” Lehman College, Lovinger Theatre, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W., the Bronx.

Headlines…

Facing a legal threat from House Republicans, the FBI announced that it is doubling to 54 the number of staffers combing through documents to comply with GOP requests for records of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The idea of a personality quiz to help Cambridge Analytica mine user information came from a man working for a firm that serves American spy agencies and was co-founded by Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and a Donald Trump supporter.

President Trump tweeted his support of a traveling opioid-abuse memorial that will be open to the public outside the White House for a week starting April 12.

Today show host Megyn Kelly says she has something in common with Stormy Daniels: They both claim to have been threatened by people on behalf of Trump.

Repealing the Second Amendment would be the best way to “weaken the NRA” and help the students who have protested around the country achieve their goal of sweeping gun control, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in a NY Times OpEd.

Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo inched toward completion of the 2018-2019 state budget amid both complaints about proposed fees and taxes and optimism that a deal was coming together.

Progress on a new state budget limped along a day after Cuomo and legislative leaders held a private meeting that was described, in its most generous terms, as explosive in tone and language. About the most exciting news was the discovery of a coyote – asleep – on a terrace outside the state museum.

IDC Leader Jeff Klein said there’s a “tentative deal” on the state budget that includes more aid for the MTA and NYCHA.

Also set in motion: a process to give Assembly and Senate members a long-awaited raise.

A centerpiece of Cuomo’s agenda for 2018 — ending cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies — has been dealt a setback in the annual negotiations for a state budget.

Advocates for a bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults – the Child Victims Act – are hoping to enlist Little Leagues and parent-teacher organizations in their cause.

“If you want to know what an authentic left-wing populist looks and sounds like — and you want to think through the electoral advantages and disadvantages of the Democratic Party embracing the approach going forward — pay close attention to former actress and activist Cynthia Nixon’s recently launched campaign to unseat Andrew Cuomo.”

Nixon wants to make some campaign cash from ex-City Council speaker Christine Quinn’s insult that she was “an unqualified lesbian” by hawking buttons bearing the slogan.

Nixon said that all three of her Sex and the City costars — including Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall — have “expressed love, support and excitement””about her political debut.

Former Republican U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato, who crossed party lines and backed Cuomo for governor four years ago, is endorsing state Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco in the Republican primary (if there is one) for governor.

Fellow Democrats don’t know what Cuomo was thinking when he launched his sharpest barb yet at NYC Mayor ​Bill ​de Blasio — over the issue of government corruption.

During his second day under cross-examination at the corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, former restauranteur Harendra Singh said de Blasio was fully aware the eatery owner was funneling cash into his political war chest with the help of others who took credit for the donations.

A lobbyist boasted about the profitable returns one of his clients, Exelon, obtained as part of Cuomo’s controversial nuclear power bailout.

The New York Human Rights Commission is inquiring into The Wing, the women-only club and co-working space that recently raised $32 million in funding from WeWork and New Enterprise Associates, for refusing membership or other services to men.

A day after the New York City Commission on Human Rights said it opened an investigation into the women-only social club, de Blasio said he supported the club’s mission and members argued the panel ought to have more pressing concerns.

A longtime aide to Brooklyn state Sen. Marty Golden who compared students protesting gun violence to Adolf Hitler in a Facebook posting was ousted from his job.

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Extras

Facebook shares fell 5 percent on reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to testify in front of Congress about the company’s data scandal.

The fate of proposals to impose new congestion tolls in Manhattan, levy a tax on opioid manufacturers and reform New York’s bail system could be decided by week’s end as lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo work to strike a state budget deal.

Sex offenders who move to New York state will no longer be able to exploit an FBI loophole when they apply for jobs at summer camps and other organizations that work with children, according to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Still feeling spurned by the paltry $1.6 billion allotted for his border wall in last week’s funding bill, Trump is now urging the military to pay for the project.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a controversial question on citizenship to the 2020 census came in the face of opposition from career officials at the Census Bureau who fear it will depress response rates, especially from immigrants.

New York state’s attorney general said he will lead a multistate lawsuit to try to stop the federal government from asking people whether they are citizens in the 2020 Census, arguing the move will discourage immigrants from participating.

The Clinton Foundation will not return contributions it received from a major donor who is accused in a $30 million lawsuit of coercing his employee into sex, citing the non-profit organization’s work in “empowering girls and women.”

“It’s silly to call a TV star ‘silly’ when she runs for office in 2018, lest she win in a ‘stunning upset’ six months later and make us look far sillier.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey employees were paid an average of $99,654 in 2017, up about 1.7 percent from 2016, according to payroll data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

The FBI raided a Waterford home with close connections to the alleged cult NXVIM, as the group’s leader, Keith Raniere, faces charges.

FBI agents also conducted raids at CCS Oncology practice locations in Western New York this morning as part of an ongoing probe into whether the company defrauded taxpayers out of millions of dollars.

Cynthia Nixon has shifted her voter registration multiple times in the past few years, recently re-registering in Manhattan, where she lives, a few weeks before voting in the 2017 general election.

Authorities say a coyote that was found on an outdoor mezzanine at the New York State Museum in Albany has been tranquilized and removed from the building.

Charles Hynes, the former Brooklyn district attorney, will pay $40,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board to end its inquiry into whether he improperly used his city email account during his failed 2013 campaign.

The del Lago casino in the Finger Lakes is seeking a better tax deal from the state to address its struggling revenue — slightly over a year since it opened.

Avid hunter Donald Trump Jr. — whom sources say has lobbied his father, the president, to ignore calls for gun control — has reportedly celebrated becoming a single man by getting a permit to carry a concealed gun in Pennsylvania.

Craft beer continues to grow across the United States, as it has in New York state, but at a slightly slower rate than in recent years, according to a new report from the national Brewers Association.

Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly headed to New York City today, where he’s scheduled for major cancer surgery tomorrow.

East Greenbush Town Justice Mary Pat Donnelly has been selected by Rensselaer County Democrats as their candidate to run for district attorney against embattled GOP incumbent Joel Abelove.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh knew of “red flags” about his now-suspended parks commissioner last December, before he decided to keep him in that role.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

The state Legislature is in session in Albany.

President Donald Trump receives his intelligence briefing in the morning. In the afternoon, he is scheduled to sign a proclamation for Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., and meet with the secretary of the Treasury, before departing the White House en route to an unnamed private residence, where he will have dinner with unnamed supporters.

Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Fargo, North Dakota, where he will participate this afternoon in a political reception for Rep. Kevin Cramer, and deliver keynote remarks at an America First Policies “Tax Cuts to Put America First” event before heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In Minnesota, Pence will participate in a Great America Committee, Protect the House event. He is not scheduled to return to D.C. this evening.

At 8:30 a.m., Reps. Adriano Espaillat, Joaquin Castro and Jerrold Nadler will hold a policy roundtable discussion on immigration, Hispanic Federation, 55 Exchange Pl., 6th Floor, Room 602, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., the state Senate Committees on Investigations and Government Operations, on Energy and Telecommunications, and on Aging hold a joint public hearing on the power outages in the Hudson Valley over the past two weeks, Legislative Office Building, Van Buren Hearing Room A, second floor, Albany.

Also at 9 a.m., NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca and officials from the NYC DOT announce a new pilot program that will allow bicyclists to follow pedestrian head start signals, southeast corner of Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.

Also at 9 a.m., the NYC Landmarks Preservation Committee votes on the designation of three buildings in East Harlem and one building in Brooklyn as landmarks, 1 Centre St., ninth floor, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul attends the funeral of FDNY Firefighter Michael Davidson, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Ave., Manhattan. Also attending: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray.

At 10 a.m., Tesla supporters will gather in Albany and urge state legislators to pass a bill that would allow Tesla to operate more than five stores in New York , LCA Press Room (130), Legislative Office Building, Albany. (Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle will attend).

Also at 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, WNYC.

At 11 a.m., a group of adult care home providers hold a rally to advocate for a Supplemental Security Income increase in the state budget, outside Cuomo’s office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the City of Mount Vernon Department of Law Corporation Counsel Lawrence R. Porcari will hold a press conference to announce new anti-corruption and public ethics measures, which include full funding of an independent Inspector General as required by Mount Vernon charter, City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mount Vernon.

At noon, elected officials, including LG candidate and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, tenants from rent regulated and NYCHA apartments and Upstate/Downstate Housing Alliance members, deliver thousands of signatures to the governor, demanding that housing be a priority in this year’s budget, Cuomo’s office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Reclaim New York Initiative hosts a rally and press conference with residents and lawmakers to urge the removal of $1 billion in taxes and fees included in the governor’s budget, and urge savings and oversight for economic development spending, Million Dollar Staircase, 3rd Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and Westchester County Executive George Latimer hold a media availability to discuss shared concerns and ways the two offices can work together, Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse, Suite 301, Bronx.

Also at 1 p.m., immigration advocates deliver hundreds of petitions to protect health care access for thousands of immigrant New Yorkers, outside Cuomo’s office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 1:15 p.m., Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and St. John’s University join with Stop & Shop to donate 1000 Easter hams to various charities and community groups, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens.

At 1:35 p.m., Hochul gives the keynote address at the Advanced Energy Conference and announces a new partnership with Israel, Marriott Marquis Hotel, sixth floor, Broadway Ballroom, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 3:30 p.m., Hochul joins Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Former First Lady Matilda Cuomo to highlight the importance of mentoring, Lower East Side Girls Club, 402 E 8th St., Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul host “The Future is Female: Making a Difference in our Communities, in our state Capitol, and in Congress,” Lower East Side Girls Club, 402 E. Eighth St., Manhattan.

Also at 4 p.m., de Blasio will hold public hearings for six pieces of legislation, and then sign them into law, Governor’s Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. hosts a panel discussion in celebration of Women’s History Month, Tosca Marquee, 4034 E. Tremont Ave., Bronx.

Also at 5:30 p.m., an opening reception for “Their Glory Can Never Fade: The Legacy of the Harlem Hellfighters,” will be held in the lobby outside the Vietnam Memorial Gallery in the Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice at the Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., Hochul addresses NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Women’s History Month reception, NYS Supreme Court, 60 Centre St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has rebounded to its highest level since the 100-day mark of his presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as his approval ratings for handling major issues remain largely negative.

While Republicans have been bracing for months for a punishing election in November, they are increasingly alarmed that their losses may be even worse than feared because the midterm campaign appears destined to turn more on the behavior of the man in the White House than any other in decades.

The acting director of the Office of Government Ethics said in a letter to a Democratic member of Congress that the White House Counsel’s office is looking into whether Jared Kushner violated any laws when he met with business entities which later loaned more than $500 million to his company.

In a controversial move, the Commerce Department said the question of citizenship will again be included in the 2020 Census at the request of the Justice Department.

Fresh off her Sunday interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes to discuss her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, adult film actress Stormy Daniels is suing the president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen for defamation.

A lawyer for Cohen, has demanded a retraction and apology from Daniels, saying she suggested on “60 Minutes” that Cohen was behind a physical threat to the porn actress.

Trump is reportedly looking to re-hire former White House staff secretary Rob Porter — who left in February amid a domestic abuse scandal.

Jesse Hughes, the Eagles of Death Metal singer and survivor of the 2015 terrorist attack on Paris, went off on young gun-control advocates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, calling them “disgusting vile abusers of the dead.”

As legions of Zucker-punched Facebook users threaten to log out permanently, states attorneys from around the country – including New York – demanded that the social media giant explain the unauthorized use of personal data from millions of accounts to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In her first trip to New York’s capital since announcing her gubernatorial campaign, actress Cynthia Nixon called her primary opponent Gov. Andrew Cuomo a “bully” who reminds her of Trump.

She also attacked Cuomo for being part of “an old boys” club of one actual Republican and two wannabe Republicans,” referring to John Flanagan, the Republican Senate leader, and Jeff Klein, leader of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which collaborates with Flanagan to rule the Senate.

Nixon mentioned the guilty verdict in the corruption trial of former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, but steered clear of commenting on any of the fundraising scandals involving her friend and political ally, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Democratic primary for governor may be less than a week old but the battle between Cuomo and Nixon for the African-American vote is already underway, underscoring the importance of a voting bloc where Nixon’s own advisers acknowledge she must make inroads to have any chance at victory.

The issue of sexual harassment looms over not only negotiations for a state budget but also the New York political landscape as Cuomo angles for a third term.

Cuomo is feeling more pressure from the left during budget negotiations since Nixon announced she was challenging him in the Democratic primary.

Flanagan all but declared the Child Victims Act dead as part of the state budget, which would be a crushing blow to abuse survivors who were hoping Cuomo’s inclusion of the measure in his budget proposal would give the issue momentum.

The governor and legislative leaders were hoping to reach the parameters of a budget deal sometime last night. However, the various bills – and the many details of the budget – would not be printed until at least today.

Cuomo’s re-election campaign weighed in on former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s corruption trial, mentioning de Blasio, prosecutors and “bribery” in the same breath.

Crooked restauranteur Harendra Singh told jurors at the Mangano trial that he reimbursed “straw donors” who made political contributions to de Blasio using Singh’s money.

De Blasio dismissed Singh’s testimony as “ridiculous.”

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