Feinstein: 'Anybody with a cell phone in their hand can get you on international news'

Feinstein: 'Anybody with a cell phone in their hand can get you on international news'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout MORE (D-Calif.) is walking back comments she made before child climate protesters that were caught on video over the weekend and went viral, saying she wasn’t aware she was being filmed.

“I don’t understand. You know what somebody said to me — you know I didn’t see any of this — they said that anybody with a cell phone in their hand can get you on international news in two minutes. I never knew that,” Feinstein said Tuesday afternoon.

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Referencing the heated exchange about the "Green New Deal" resolution with a group of children and one parent at her congressional office in California, which was quickly criticized as condescending, Feinstein said she is “pro-moving on global warming.”

“I believe it’s the number one problem facing the planet and we have very limited time,” she said Wednesday.

The lawmaker said she plans to push her own resolution soon that focuses on the science.

“I’d rather do it from the science point of view on what is happening to us. I come from a state of 32 million people. ... We’ve lost 15,000 homes and 4,000 businesses to forest fires this year alone, the worst fire year in history, so we are really beginning to see the impacts of global warming,” she said. “I want to concentrate much more on what the science is saying and what is happening out there with the glaciers melting."

A draft of her plan released last week, which Feinstein has since said was done in error, would focus on using a carbon tax to reduce climate-warming emissions.

She has been sharply criticized after video of her interaction with the climate change protesters went online.

"You know what's interesting about this group is that I've been doing this for 30 years. I know what I'm doing," the California senator says in the edited clip. "You come in here and you say, 'it has to be my way or the highway.' I don't respond to that."

"I've gotten elected, I just ran," she added. "I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality. And I know what I'm doing. So you know, maybe people should listen a little bit."

She said she plans to vote “present” when the Green New Deal resolution comes up for a Senate vote before the August recess.

Asked if her vote would divide the Democratic Party over the Green New Deal, Feinstein said no, adding that the resolution sponsored by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Ocasio-Cortez taps supporters for donations as former primary opponent pitches for Kennedy Rep. Joe Kennedy has history on his side in Senate bid MORE (D-Mass.) and championed in the House by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezObamas' first Netflix project nominated for Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Sanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Democrat launches primary challenge to Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.) was “too much” and too “political.”

“It does other things. It’s free college, It’s free medical care. That’s not global warming,” she said of the resolution that aims to get the country to 100 percent renewable energy use by 2030 and jump-start green job creation.

“I took a look at it and I said, that’s too much.”

She added: “I thought it was political ... Global warming should not be political, it should be factual based on what’s happening. The science based on the time in which it’s happening.”

A statement released by Ocasio-Cortez's spokesperson Tuesday night said Democrats must be bold in seizing the Green New Deal.

"We must stop equating defeatism with pragmatism — being cynical with being reasonable. There is nothing reasonable or pragmatic in saying that the U.S. cannot reverse climate change or that we cannot solve income and wealth inequality. In order for the Democratic Party to take back the Senate and the White House, we must be a party with vision," the spokesperson wrote.

Democratic senators announced Tuesday they will soon introduce a third resolution in hopes to put the spotlight back on Republicans who wished to speed up the vote on the Green New Deal, to create a fissure in the Democratic Party.

All 47 Democrats — including Independent Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill On The Money: Trump touts China trade deal | Wall Street, Washington see signs for caution | Trump threatens sanctions on Turkey | Sanders proposes sharp hike to corporate taxes MORE (Vt.) and Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Democrats grill Army, Air Force nominees on military funding for border wall Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year MORE (Maine), who caucus with the party — are backing the nonbinding resolution being introduced by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.), according to a Democratic leadership source.

Carper, speaking from the Senate floor, said the resolution would touch on three things that "we all agree on."

"Number one, we agree that climate change is real. Two, human activity during the last 100 years is a dominant cause of the climate change crisis we face today. And three, the United States, and especially the Congress … and the administration should take immediate action to address the challenge of climate challenge," Carper said.

—Jordain Carney contributed to this report.