Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate at age 87 and the most senior Democrat on its powerful Judiciary Committee, is “seriously struggling” with cognitive decline, a new report says.
People familiar with the California lawmaker’s situation told the New Yorker on Wednesday that Feinstein’s short-term memory has grown so poor that she “often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has had several “painful” discussions with Feinstein about stepping aside, but the octogenarian reportedly soon forgets about their talks, forcing Schumer to confront her again, one source said.
“It was like Groundhog Day, but with the pain fresh each time,” the source said.
Overtures were also reportedly made to Feinstein’s billionaire husband, Richard C. Blum.
Grumblings over Feinstein’s performance have grown increasingly loud, leading to her decision to step down last month as ranking member of the elite Judiciary Committee.
Pundits were unhappy with Feinstein’s handling of the confirmation of President Trump’s most recent Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
The lawmaker bungled several questions and then caused a furor when she concluded Barrett’s hearings by hugging Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and praising him for “one of the best set of hearings that I have participated in.”
Schumer was reportedly so concerned about Feinstein’s performance that he “installed a trusted former aide, Max Young, to ’embed’ in the Judiciary Committee to make sure the hearings didn’t go off the rails,” the New Yorker reported.
He did the same during the 2018 confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, according to the article.
“The staff is in such a bad position,” one former Senate aide told the publication. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”
Some people familiar with the situation blamed Schumer for not talking Feinstein out of running for re-election in 2018, with her term now due to end in 2024, when she will be 91 years old. Schumer’s office declined to comment.
Feintein’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
New York Post