During a Tuesday exchange with reporters, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) may have inadvertently disclosed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s overall health.
While Schumer did not directly address Feinstein’s current condition — the 89-year-old has been absent from the chamber for months due to shingles — a photographer caught a glimpse of Schumer’s notes that read, “I spoke with Senator Feinstein yesterday. We both hope she can return the following week.”
Schumer’s spokesperson verified that he did speak with Feinstein, adding that he would have disclosed this information had a reporter inquired about it. Schumer’s spokesperson told Politico, “It was in his notes, and he would have disclosed it if asked.”
Meanwhile, Feinstein’s staff confirmed the confirmation. Since months, her office has stated that she “continues to make progress in her recovery.” They disagreed with Schumer’s timeline, however. The staff of the California Democrat stated that they “do not yet have a timeline for her return to Washington, which is contingent on her medical team’s approval to travel.”
With Feinstein’s absence, her Judiciary Committee seat has remained vacant, which has impeded President Biden’s efforts to appoint his own justices to the federal bench. Democrats only hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Schumer did not address Feinstein’s absence aloud during the press conference today, but according to the notes he was holding, the Senate majority leader spoke to Feinstein on Monday and she hopes to return to Washington next week. https://t.co/3OVac8wY9j
— POLITICO (@politico) May 2, 2023
Durbin said he has "not personally" spoken to Feinstein about when she might return.
Durbin also would not say how he plans to move ahead on his probe of Clarence Thomas' undisclosed gifts.
"I'm going to discuss with the committee before we make any announcements."
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 2, 2023
This alone has prompted demands for Feinstein’s resignation from several Democrats, though in recent weeks, many of her Senate colleagues have resisted issuing similar calls.
“Dianne Feinstein is my friend,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told NBC’s Chuck Todd in mid-April.
“She’s my colleague. We sit next to one another on the Judiciary Committee. She’s done extraordinary things in her public career. Let’s face it, she’s gone through several weeks of real travail over this shingles issue that she was obviously dealing with. She wants to come back,” he added.
“She said to Chuck Schumer on the phone last week, ‘I want to get on that plane next Monday and be there.’ I want her to come back too. But her future is in her own hands and her family’s consultation. I wish her the best and I hope she can return very soon.”
Sen. Mark Warner responded similarly when asked about Feinstein on the ABC Sunday program “This Week.”
“Should she resign?” host Martha Raddatz said to the senator.
“I’m hopeful that Dianne will return as soon as possible,” he said. “I served with her on the Intelligence Committee. She’s been a great senator. But my hope is she’ll get back to work as soon as possible.”
Senator Lindsey Graham stated on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Republicans would not allow Democrats to replace her Judiciary Committee seat unless she resigns from the Senate.
“Back to the U.S. and specifically the Judiciary Committee. You’re the ranking member on that committee. Senator Dianne Feinstein, she’s been absent for health reasons. You and other Republicans blocked the Democrats attempt to temporarily fill her committee seat. If she resigns, isn’t just absent, but actually resigns from the Senate, will you allow this committee seat to be filled?” host Dana Bash asked.
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
“Yes, if she resigned, I would make sure that whatever we did in the past when members resigned would be followed,” the senator said. CONTINUE READING…