How Trump is helping 'Sneaky' Dianne Feinstein win her 'tough primary'

President Donald Trump is right that Cal...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 10:29 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 10:29 AM

President Donald Trump is right that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces a "tough primary" this year.

He's also helping her win it.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, is facing a primary challenge

The President gave her a nickname

Feinstein emerged this week as Trump's chief Democratic tormenter of the moment. Just on Tuesday, she nudged Trump into a position that startled Republicans and required clarification during an immigration-focused meeting in the Oval Office. She also took the extraordinary step of releasing an important transcript from the Senate Judiciary Committee's Russia probe without the Republican chairman's sign-off.

For that, the President gave her something reserved for the political foes who annoy him the most: a nickname.

"The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

Speculating about Feinstein's motivations, Trump added: "Must have tough Primary!"

"Sneaky Dianne" does in fact face a potentially tough primary challenge. Kevin de L-on, the California state Senate president, is challenging her from the left -- charging that Feinstein hasn't been aggressive enough against Trump.

The seed of de L-on's challenge was planted in August 2017, when Feinstein said at an event at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco that Trump could still be a "good president."

"Look, this man is going to be president, most likely for the rest of this term," she said then. "I just hope he has the ability to learn, and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. And that's my hope. I have my own personal feelings about it."

Feinstein expressed a healthy skepticism that Trump could turn things around.

But California is an overwhelmingly Democratic state where progressives pride themselves on being at the forefront of the anti-Trump resistance, so the moment did not go over well. Tom Steyer, the billionaire megadonor who is calling for Trump's impeachment, was publicly weighing a Senate primary challenge of his own.

It was no surprise that Feinstein's critics seized on her assertion that Trump "can be a good president" -- and at the time, she had to quickly backtrack.

Today, though, the moment looks much different.

In August, the 2016-style divide in the Democratic Party had progressives demanding all-out opposition to Trump.

Now, the #MeToo moment dominates the political landscape on the left. And Feinstein is a powerfully placed female lawmaker with a reputation on Capitol Hill that allows her to take on Trump from a position of authority and credibility -- all qualities that existed before, but have now taken on increased political importance following a cultural reckoning that called out powerful men who abused their power and sought to elevate women's voices.

"Clearly doing something right!" tweeted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, after noting that Feinstein had earned a Trump nickname.

The two events most likely to have irritated Trump occurred at almost the same time Tuesday.

During an immigration-focused meeting at the White House on Tuesday, she suggested that Congress could pass the "Dream Act" alone, providing a path to citizenship for children covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- set to expire in March.

Trump seemed to agree -- catching Republicans off guard and forcing House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to interject that border security measures would need to be part of the package. Trump said that's what he thought Feinstein meant, and a round of clarifications ensued.

The same day, she took the unusual step of releasing -- without the Republican chairman's sign-off -- the transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee's August interview with the founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned a dossier detailing Trump's alleged ties to Russia.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Feinstein brushed off Trump's attacks, noting that her release of the unclassified transcript was not illegal. She was only concerned that she hadn't notified Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, beforehand.

"I meant to tell him, and I didn't have a chance to tell him, and that concerns me," Feinstein said. "That transcript has become so abused that time has come for people to take a look at it."

As for the "sneaky" label, she said, "He tends to call people names very quickly, so I'm not alone."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 65436

Reported Deaths: 1848
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5544117
DeSoto357430
Harrison240635
Madison239664
Rankin225132
Jackson222542
Jones185058
Forrest175855
Washington160640
Lauderdale139790
Lee138333
Neshoba128492
Lamar119214
Oktibbeha109638
Bolivar109333
Lowndes105837
Warren103332
Panola102612
Scott99520
Sunflower99224
Lafayette95615
Copiah94528
Leflore90762
Pike89635
Holmes87348
Grenada83821
Yazoo81512
Pontotoc8098
Lincoln79641
Leake78625
Simpson78630
Monroe76952
Wayne75321
Coahoma71511
Tate70527
Marshall6749
Marion64320
Winston61116
Adams61025
Covington61013
Union60116
George5494
Newton53711
Pearl River52937
Tallahatchie52210
Attala51525
Walthall49119
Chickasaw45019
Noxubee44811
Calhoun4079
Prentiss40310
Claiborne39813
Alcorn3975
Smith39713
Clay39214
Jasper3819
Hancock37314
Tishomingo3635
Itawamba34810
Tippah34213
Clarke32525
Tunica3226
Montgomery3153
Lawrence3127
Yalobusha31210
Humphreys28311
Carroll26011
Quitman2521
Greene23611
Jefferson Davis2286
Kemper22714
Amite2256
Webster22512
Perry2237
Wilkinson20113
Jefferson1946
Sharkey1944
Stone1864
Benton1420
Choctaw1314
Franklin1192
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12743242
Mobile9565206
Montgomery6521148
Madison525030
Tuscaloosa410371
Unassigned347461
Baldwin344323
Shelby320133
Marshall309034
Lee262844
Morgan233017
Etowah207530
DeKalb177113
Calhoun170413
Elmore169438
Walker150264
Houston136412
Russell13422
Dallas131123
St. Clair131016
Limestone128413
Franklin125820
Cullman120112
Colbert115613
Lauderdale113917
Autauga106521
Escambia105416
Talladega98613
Jackson9454
Tallapoosa84979
Chambers83538
Dale82323
Blount7743
Chilton7676
Butler75935
Coffee7475
Covington72620
Pike6907
Barbour5695
Lowndes56724
Marion56724
Marengo54614
Clarke4969
Hale46726
Bullock45411
Winston44411
Perry4364
Wilcox41810
Bibb4164
Monroe4154
Randolph39410
Pickens3849
Conecuh38210
Sumter36218
Lawrence3441
Macon33213
Washington32712
Crenshaw3133
Choctaw27912
Cherokee2637
Geneva2550
Henry2523
Greene25011
Clay2495
Lamar2172
Fayette1985
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
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