Viral photo of Feinstein, Murkowski draws LBJ comparisons

Viral photo of Feinstein, Murkowski draws LBJ comparisons
© Greg Nash

Bo Erickson's photo, which depicts Feinstein leaning over Murkowski, drew comparisons from Twitter users who likened Feinstein's stance to Lyndon B. Johnson, who often sought to use his size to intimidate lawmakers and reporters.

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Feinstein and Murkowski, however, appeared to be on good terms. The two crossed paths near the elevators leading to the Senate floor in the basement of the Capitol, hugging before they stepped aside to whisper to each other. The exchange was inaudible to those nearby.

"Some serious LBJ body language from Feinstein here," tweeted Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. 

"Right out of a Caro book," wrote The Washington Post's Robert Costa, referring to biographies about Johnson by journalist Robert Caro.  

Murkowski and Feinstein's interaction came the same day that a third allegation of sexual misconduct emerged against Kavanaugh, this time from a woman claiming Kavanaugh engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with women in high school. 

Julie Swetnick alleges that Kavanaugh attended a party where she said she was drugged and raped by multiple men, not including Kavanaugh. She accused Kavanaugh, in a sworn testimony, of participating in similar behavior to the men at other gatherings.

Kavanaugh has denied the accusation, calling it "out of the Twilight Zone."

Murkowski has not yet spoken out following the third accusation from Swetnick. 

Feinstein and Murkowski are two key players in Kavanaugh's nomination proceedings, as Murkowski is one of a handful of undecided Republicans and Feinstein was reportedly the first senator alerted to the first sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. 

Murkowski on Tuesday said the fight over Kavanaugh's nomination boils down to whether senators believe Christine Blasey Ford, the first of the three women accusing the nominee of sexual assault.

Ford, who is accusing Kavanaugh of pinning her down and trying to take off her clothes during a high school party in the 1980s, is set to testify alongside Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

Murkowski this week said the second woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Deborah Ramirez, should speak publicly. Ramirez, in a New Yorker article published Sunday, accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself without her consent during a gathering at Yale University in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has forcefully denied all accusations, and the White House has written them off as part of a "smear campaign."

Feinstein on Wednesday joined the other Senate Judiciary Democrats in calling on the FBI to investigate all claims against Kavanaugh. All 11 Democrats on the panel called for the Thursday hearing with Ford and Kavanaugh to be postponed.

--This report was updated on Sept. 27 at 7:56 a.m.