Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is questioned by reporters as she leaves the Capitol following votes, in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee is finishing its investigation into the meeting between Russians and President Donald Trump’s campaign in June 2016 — and Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa wants to release transcripts from closed-door interviews with Trump’s son and others. Grassley says he wants to work out an agreement with Feinstein to release transcripts from interviews with Donald Trump Jr. and others who attended the campaign meeting in Trump Tower. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(UPDATED with statement from Sen. Feinstein)
After President Trump’s legal team finished their arguments in the impeachment trial Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told reporters that with only nine months left until Election Day, “the people should judge.”
Feinstein made the comments to a group of reporters as she left the Senate chamber at the conclusion of the day’s proceedings.
“Nine months left to go, the people should judge. We are a republic, we are based on the will of the people — the people should judge,” Feinstein said Tuesday, after the president’s team finished a three-day presentation in his defense. “That was my view and it still is my view.”
Still, she indicated that arguments in the trial about Trump’s character and fitness for office had left her undecided. “What changed my opinion as this went on,” she said, is a realization that “impeachment isn’t about one offense. It’s really about the character and ability and physical and mental fitness of the individual to serve the people, not themselves.”
Asked whether she would ultimately vote to acquit, she demurred, saying, “We’re not finished.”
Feinstein also told the group that in the last week her office had received 125,000 letters supporting impeachment and only 25,000 letters against it, suggesting that there is “substantial weight to this,” but that she wasn’t sure it was enough to cast a vote to convict.
Over the weekend Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Fox News that he was undecided about whether to convict or acquit.
UPDATE, 2:48 PM PST:
Sen. Feinstein tweeted out a statement claiming the “LA Times misunderstood” what she said.
The LA Times misunderstood what I said today. Before the trial I said I'd keep an open mind. Now that both sides made their cases, it’s clear the president’s actions were wrong. He withheld vital foreign assistance for personal political gain. That can’t be allowed to stand.
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) January 28, 2020
Feinstein continued, “Before the trial I said I’d keep an open mind. Now that both sides made their cases, it’s clear the president’s actions were wrong. He withheld vital foreign assistance for personal political gain. That can’t be allowed to stand.”