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Justin Fairfax dodges impeachment process, calls for 'independent investigation' of rape claims

Justin Fairfax dodges impeachment process, calls for 'independent investigation' of rape claims

The Democratic state politican, Patrick Hope, who said he might ask the state house to begin discussing impeaching Fairfax if he did not resign signalled on Monday that he was in no rush to act. Fairfax released a statement on Saturday acknowledging both interactions with the women, but said both instances were consensual. "Lieutenant-Governor Fairfax has suggested and called for an investigation, I strongly support that". The polling was conducted before the second sexual allegation against Fairfax.

"Even in the most hard times, including ones like these, that's when it's most important to adhere to our highest values as Americans", he said.

Northam made the comments on CBS' "Face the Nation", saying it's been a hard week since a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced, showing a person wearing blackface next to a second person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

READ: Was racist photo in Virginia governor's college yearbook a mix-up?

Already facing calls to resign over his "blackface" scandal, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam triggered more outrage, mockery and some serious fact-checking, after referring to the first Africans in the USA as "indentured servants".

Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault, including rape by one of the women.

Democratic lawmakers from Virginia have called on Fairfax to resign, as have Democratic senators Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Cory Booker of New Jersey - both 2020 presidential contenders - among others. "And that's why I'm not going anywhere", Northam says in the interview, which will air in full Monday on "CBS This Morning".

In his first TV interview since the image surfaced, Mr Northam said he later took a "step back" and determined it was not him in the photo.

Northam's pledge Sunday to work on healing Virginia's racial divide was his second in as many days.

"Yes", Northam replied, continuing, "And while we have made a lot of progress in Virginia-slavery has ended".

He says he'll "focus on race and equity" as his "commitment to Virginia" for the next three years.

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Earlier this month, on February 1, a photo from Northam's medical school yearbook was resurfaced, appearing to show the politician and another person wearing racist costumes - with one dressed in blackface and another wearing KKK robes, according to The Virginian-Pilot. "But I can tell you that I am sure, just like me, he has grown". But he made no public comments.

In the unlikely event all three men were to step down, the governorship would pass to the Republican speaker of the state house, which would be a stunning reversal in a state where Democrats have been gaining power in the last few election cycles.

According to Watson's attorneys, former classmates have provided statements corroborating the allegations and that she "immediately told friends that Fairfax had raped her". Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen.

Virginia's Democratic congressional delegation was split.

"Fairfax should have already resigned".

Her call, however, quickly evoked a barrage of negative responses online, with people criticising both her and the Democratic Party in general.

If Fairfax were to leave, it's unclear who could replace him. He's a Republican, which is giving the Democratic officerholders another reason to try to keep their positions. Steve Newman, the Senate's pro tem, serve as both a voting senator and temporary lieutenant governor. It has remained unclear exactly how the photo ended up in the yearbook of the Eastern Virginia Medical School and on Northam's page.

Ralph Northam says he has learned why blackface is offensive, after he admitted to darkening his face decades ago as part of a Michael Jackson costume.

Fairfax would become governor if Northam resigns.

As the part-time lieutenant governor, Fairfax presides over the closely divided state Senate during the legislative session and can break ties on certain votes.