December 11th, 2020
Reports about California Senator Diane Feinstein's declining mental capacity
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly told Senator Diane Feinstein, the oldest member of the US Senate, to step aside as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, according to a new report from the New Yorker's Jane Mayer.
Sources familiar with the situation say that the California US Senator struggles with her short-term memory, even forgetting things she herself has said.The Senator forgets conversations and gets upset with her staff for not briefing her on topics moments after they do.
Feinstein, the oldest sitting US Senator, has had her mental capacity questioned recently.She has also been under scrutiny for her interaction with Amy Coney Barret during Barret's confirmation hearings for SCOTUS. In 2018, Politico also revealed that one of Feinstein's California office staffers was a Chinese spy. The staffer even served as Feinstein's chauffer for two decades, apparently without her knowing until the FBI approached her. Senator Ted Cruz responded to the the New Yorker piece in a tweet stating that the "hard left is vicious," accusing Mayer of attacking Feinstein over positive remarks about Senator Lindsey Graham regarding the Barret hearings. Still, those concerned with the state of her mental faculties can point to her interview of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in November 17, where she asked him the same question twice.During the November 17th hearing, she asked sharp questions, including asking Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey whether his company was doing enough to stop the spread of disinformation, such as Trump’s tweet saying he had won the election. It was a good question that showed she still was well prepared and knowledgeable. But she did ask it twice, which presented questions about her memory. Feinstein was criticized by more progressive Democrats during the Amy Comey Barret hearings for taking a more diplomatic approach. But she did draw “non answers” from Barret on questions about whether she agreed with Justice Scalia that the Voting Rights Act “perpetuated racial entitlement,” and also if Barrett agreed with conservatives who argued that Medicare is unconstitutional. Feinstein also clearly stated she was against rushing Barrett's nomination with an election already underway.
She recently announced that she'd be stepping down as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.Feinstein will remain on the committee until her term expires in 2024 at the age of 91.She was elected to the Senate in 1992, and built a strong legislative record on numerous topics, including environmental and natural resources, national security, crime and justice, and healthcare. She’s had many firsts – including the first female elected Senator from California, the first female member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the first female chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee – and has received numerous awards.Feinstein announced in late November that she would continue to serve on the Judiciary, Appropriation, and intelligence panels, but not in the role of top Democrat. She mentioned she wants to focus on wildfire and drought issues, along with climate change, which affect her home state of California.