Feinstein's Staff Busted: Tried To Hide Something & It Didn't Go Well
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, is keeping the media at bay after weeks of being absent from the Senate due to a medical leave.
Feinstein, 89, has shingles and has also been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. After spending weeks holed up in her California mansion, the Senate majority whip finally returned to work two months later, now in a wheelchair.
Although her staff is adamant that she's doing just fine, recent efforts to conceal her health from the media have been capitalized on — leading many to ask if she's is really as OK as they say.
On Wednesday, a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Times noticed Feinstein’s staff and Capitol Police officers “shouting at” him, despite the fact that he was already 30 feet away from the Senator.
”A Capitol Police officer shouted at me to move back—despite already being 30 feet away from the senator. Feinstein waved as she was escorted to a waiting vehicle,” the photographer, Kent Nishimura, wrote.
Nishimura is not the only one who's noticed Feinstein's security go into overdrive. Since her return, there has been an increase in Senate security and measures to protect her from the press. For two days last week, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms office said her arrival to the Capitol was “closed press,” using the police to chase journalists out of hallways and public spaces.
”This unprecedented act of restricting press freedom only raises more questions,” Nishimura wrote.
Nancy Corinne Prowda, the eldest daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has been watching Feinstein closely, according to the photographer. He noticed that she runs interference and shields the senator from reporters, "sometimes placing herself between them."
Feinstein is now escorted on paths to and from the Senate chamber, where cameras are not allowed, which is in accordance with a request from her office.
Feinstein, however, denied any efforts to shield her from the media. A spokesman from her office stated that Feinstein has not asked photographers to not take pictures of her in her wheelchair and instead asked for safety reasons that the press give her space, particularly when she is entering or exiting her vehicle.
Despite her denials, many are questioning Feinstein's mental acuity since her return. She gave a peculiar answer when asked by reporters about her absence and the reaction of her colleagues upon her return.
“No, I haven’t been gone,” she said. "You should follow the — I haven’t been gone, I’ve been working.”
Only time will tell if Feinstein is fit, both physically and mentally, to do her job in the Senate. But it's clear her staff is going to great lengths to protect the veteran Senator's health from the public eye.