Dianne Feinstein reportedly grew 'confused' after seeing vice president preside over Senate

 May 29, 2023

Concerns over longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's mental state have grown in recent years, with even some of her fellow Democrats asking that she step down.

Those concerns seem likely to heighten following a report that Feinstein grew confused last year upon seeing Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over the Senate. 

"What is she doing here?"

That's according to New York Times congressional correspondent Annie Karni, who recounted the incident in an article published this past weekend.

"When Vice President Kamala Harris was presiding over the chamber last year in one of many instances in which she was called upon to cast a tiebreaking vote, Ms. Feinstein expressed confusion, according to a person who witnessed the scene, asking her colleagues, 'What is she doing here?'" Karni wrote.

The incident was apparently far from being unique, as Karni asserted that Feinstein "is surrounded by a large retinue of aides at all times."

The senator's entourage is responsible for telling her "how and when to vote" as well as "shield her from the press and public."

Feinstein has missed six votes since returning to Washington

What's more, Karni pointed out that since returning to Washington after a monthslong absence, Feinstein "has missed six votes and has not participated in any committee hearings or caucus lunches."

Meanwhile, one of Feinstein's Democratic colleagues spoke anonymously to the San Francisco Chronicle last year about her cognitive decline.

"I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea," the lawmaker said before adding, "All of that is gone."

Still, Karni stressed that Feinstein "has insisted that she is able to work and has no plans to leave office before her term ends in 2025."

House Democrat says it's time for Feinstein to go

That decision isn't sitting well with some lawmakers, including California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna. He released a statement last month asking her to retire.

"It’s time for [Sen. Feinstein] to resign," Khanna said in a tweet. "We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty."

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