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Feinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight

Feinstein 'surprised and taken aback' by suggestion she's not up for Supreme Court fight
© AP/Pool

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is rejecting suggestions that she is not prepared to handle an upcoming Supreme Court nomination fight.

Democratic sources told Politico in a story published Wednesday that there is concern that Feinstein, 87, is not capable of leading an aggressive push against the Supreme Court nominee President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE picks to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgNYC street and subway signs transformed to welcome Biden, bid farewell to Trump Schumer and McConnell trade places, but icy relationship holds Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE

“I’m really surprised and taken aback by this. Because I try to be very careful and I’m puzzled by it,” Feinstein told Politico. “My attendance is good, I do the homework, I try to ask hard questions. I stand up for what I believe in.”

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One Democratic senator told Politico under the condition of anonymity that some in the party are pushing for Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinOvernight Health Care — Fauci: Lack of facts 'likely' cost lives in coronavirus fight | CDC changes COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow rare mixing of Pfizer, Moderna shots | Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts MORE (D-Ill.) or Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack Democrats seize on GOP donor fallout MORE (D-R.I.) to serve as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee during the nomination hearings. 

They cited, among other things, the fact that Feinstein waited too long to disclose sexual assault allegations by Christine Blasey Ford against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing Harris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Why we need Section 230 more than ever MORE.

“She’s not sure what she’s doing,” they said. “If you take a look at Kavanaugh, we may be short two senators because of that. And if this gets [messed] up, it may be the same result.”

The senator added that Feinstein’s performance could “impact a number of seats we can win.”

Democrats are reportedly discussing adjusting the seniority system for next year in case the party wins the Senate, making it so Feinstein does not become chair of the judiciary committee. 

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Feinstein told Politico that she can only do so much to slow the nomination but can’t stop it as long as Republicans stick together.

“Let me say this — I know it’s going to be a fight, I understand that,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of tools to use, but I’m going to use what I have. We can try to delay and obstruct but they can run this process through. That doesn’t mean that we won’t fight tooth and nail.”

The California Democrat has rejected calls from some members of the caucus to expand the Supreme Court and end the filibuster if Democrats flip the Senate.