Capitol Police are trying to block journalists from taking pictures of Dianne Feinstein, photographer says
- A Los Angeles Times photographer says Capitol Police and staff are blocking access to Feinstein.
- He recounted an instance where an officer yelled at him after he took a photo of Feinstein from far away.
Capitol Police officers have been trying to restrict journalists' access to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California since she returned to Washington this month, according to Los Angeles Times photographer Kent Nishimura.
One of several photographers who roam the halls of Congress, Nishimura says that Feinstein's staff have used "every trick in the book to stay out of sight and at a distance from the press."
That's reportedly included forming a "human barrier" between the 89-year-old senator and the Capitol Hill press corps, as well as shouting at photographers to get out of the way.
And the Senate sergeant-at-arms has reportedly declared her arrival at the Capitol — a routine event for most senators in which photographers are usually free to take photos — as "closed press," deploying officers to usher journalists out of otherwise public spaces.
Nishimura recounted an instance last week when he took a photo as a staff member "tried to hide [Feinstein's] wheelchair" behind a pillar, prompting an officer to shout at him to move back, despite him already being 30 feet away already.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Feinstein spokesman Adam Russell denied that her office is restricting press access.
"Our office has not asked photographers to not take pictures of her in her wheelchair," said Russell. "We did ask, and continue to ask for safety reasons, that photographers and reporters give her space, particularly when entering and exiting her vehicle."
Feinstein's return to the Capitol earlier this month came following a nearly 3-month-long absence due to a case of shingles.
The 89-year-old senator, who has publicly struggled with memory loss and cognitive issues in recent years, recently announced she would not run for re-election.
But her extended absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee had prevented Democrats from advancing a series of judicial nominees that lacked Republican support, prompting some House Democrats to call for her resignation.
Feinstein also developed encephalitis as a result of her shingles infection, resulting in the partial paralysis of her face and potentially permanent memory and language problems.
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