Hillary Clinton explains why Dianne Feinstein’s retirement would hurt Democrats: report
Senator Dianne Feinstein during an event in 2020. (Senate Democrats/Flickr)

Hillary Clinton on Monday said her friend and former Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein shouldn’t retire, but not for the reasons you might think, Time magazine reports.

Feinstein, 89, returned to Washington D.C. last week after a bout with shingles that sidelined her for nearly three months, and is now facing calls to resign over concerns that she’s experiencing cognitive decline.

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The former secretary of state, in an interview with Time’s Charlotte Alter, said Feinstein “has suffered greatly from the bout of shingles and encephalitis that she endured. Here is the dilemma for her: she got reelected, the people of California voted for her again, not very long ago. That was the voters’ decision to vote for her, and she has been a remarkable and very effective leader.”

But the bigger issue facing Feinstein and Democrats is that should the senior senator from California step down, there’s no guarantee Republicans would agree to seat her replacement on the powerful Judiciary Committee.

And Democrats need Feinstein’s vote to confirm judges.

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“Here’s the dilemma: the Republicans will not agree to add someone else to the Judiciary Committee if she retires,” Clinton said.

“I want you to think about how crummy that is. I don’t know in her heart about whether she really would or wouldn’t, but right now, she can’t. Because if we’re going to get judges confirmed, which is one of the most important continuing obligations that we have, then we cannot afford to have her seat vacant.”

Clinton suggested that, in a more congenial environment, Feinstein’s retirement wouldn’t kneecap Senate Democrats.

“If Republicans were to say and do the decent thing and say, well this woman was gravely ill, she had just lost her husband to cancer… of course we will let you fill this position if she retires. But they won’t say that,” Clinton said.

“So what are we supposed to do? All these people pushing her to retire: fine, we get no more judges? I don’t think that’s a good tradeoff.”

Read the full article here.