Two days after Governor Andrew Cuomo accused a state lawmaker of illegal and unethical behavior in an extraordinary public attack, the governor told reporters on Friday that he now wants to focus on the challenges ahead and put politics aside.

"I want to take the tone down," Cuomo said during the press briefing. "We have to do a budget, we have to do vaccinations, we have a lot of important work to do together and that's what we should be focused on."

The governor called for civility one day after his administration acknowledged that they are being investigated by the Department of Justice for its handling of nursing home patients during the pandemic.

Until late January, New York was the only state in the country that intentionally excluded nursing home residents who died in hospitals from their tallies of deaths in long-term care facilities, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

A scathing report from NY Attorney General Letitia James released last month showed that nursing home deaths were undercounted by as much as 50%, and updated tallies show that at least 15,000 New Yorkers died of COVID-19 in the facilities.

That undercounting, as well as a March 25th directive that required nursing homes to admit COVID-19-positive patients leaving hospitals, and the sweeping legal immunity granted to nursing homes in the late spring, are among the topics that state lawmakers say deserve full and open investigations.

Some State Democrats have drafted legislation to strip the governor of his emergency powers, others have called for oversight hearings. Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, who recounted a threatening phone call Cuomo made to him last week after his vocal criticism of the administration, drafted a letter accusing Cuomo of "obstruction of justice" and engaging in a "coverup."

“I support our state's return to co-equal governance and stand with our local officials calling for a full investigation of the Cuomo administration's handling of nursing homes during COVID-19," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a statement on Friday afternoon.

The DOJ investigation was reportedly prompted by comments made by Melissa DeRosa, a top aide to Cuomo, during a call to a group of lawmakers last week, in which she admitted that the Cuomo administration "froze" when they received a request for nursing home data from the Trump administration over the summer.

On Friday, Cuomo insisted that the state lawmakers, who had been asking for nursing home data for months before and after that federal request, agreed to the delay.

"We told them, and they implicitly agreed to the delay," Cuomo said. "And I'll tell you why you know, because your followup question would have been to the state legislator, when you didn't get a response, did you send a demand letter? Did you say, I'm gonna subpoena the information if you didn't get it, right? It was an agreed-to delay, right?”

Representatives for the leaders of both the Senate and the Assembly disputed this.

"We understood there was a delay but there was no agreement nor were we asked to agree. We wanted information and we continued to push for the information," Mike Murphy, a spokesperson for the Democratic Majority in the Senate, said in a statement.

"We didn't agree to anything," Michael Whyland, a spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie wrote in an email. "We never stopped asking for the information and we were under the belief that we would get it, but unfortunately that never happened."

"Cuomo keeps repeating the same lie over and over, hoping it will make it true," said Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar, who has suggested that the legislature consider impeachment hearings for the governor. "As long as he refuses to take responsibility, the legislature must hold him accountable and demand transparency.”

During Friday's press conference, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker insisted that the administration's handling of nursing homes was correct, and added that if faced with the same facts, he would make the same decisions again.

The governor apologized to Zucker and health care workers for creating a "void" of information, and insisted that it was obvious that the criticism of the policies was either partisan or personal.

“It was the nursing home families who were confused," Cuomo said.

For some who lost loved ones in nursing homes to COVID-19 last spring, the governor’s treatment of their concerns has been especially painful. Umran Zia’s 84-year-old father died of COVID-19 in a hospital after contracting the virus at a Westchester rehab facility shortly after the governor’s controversial March 25th directive last year.

“He would still be alive without that order, there’s no doubt in my mind,” the 51-year-old told Gothamist/WNYC, though experts have said with the current data available, it’s still difficult to determine whether the policy directly lead to more deaths of nursing home residents.

Zia said he understands the governor had to make tough calls during a crisis. "He’s always talking about leadership. This is the leadership moment,” he said. “I get it’s a tough job, but it’s time to say, 'I panicked and I made the wrong decisions that affected people.'"