Donald Trump is not happy. President Trump attacked Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Twitter Wednesday morning, calling the California Democrat "sneaky" after she released more than 300 pages of a witness' testimony regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump's attack on Feinstein comes less than a month after the president attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a sexually suggestive tweet that implied the Democratic senator would do anything for campaign contributions.
President Trump's tweet read:
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. Must have tough Primary!
Feinstein has said she was moved to release the testimony of Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, in an effort to "set the record straight" after a troubling amount of misinformation had continued to circulate about it.
Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement:
The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice. The only way to set the record straight is to make the transcript public.
Simpson had testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August to discuss the now infamous dossier that Fusion GPS compiled with former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier alleged the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election; both Republicans and the Trump administration have argued the dossier was solely responsible for launching the FBI's investigation into allegations of collusion.
Simpson's testimony counters that claim, however — according to Simpson, the FBI was already investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign before Steele passed the dossier to them. Moreover, Simpson said the FBI told Steele that their own intelligence sources had similar findings.
In his tweet Wednesday, Trump claimed Feinstein's decision to release the testimony in full was "possibly illegal" and "totally without authorization." However, Feinstein's status as one of the committee's ranking members reportedly gives her the authority to make the documents public. Moreover, Simpson's testimony, although given in a closed-door session, was not reportedly considered to be classified.
While Trump and a number of congressional Republicans were angered by Feinstein's decision to release Simpson's testimony, there are at least two people celebrating the move. Both Simpson and his Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch previously called for the testimony to be made public.
"Congress should release transcripts of our firm's testimony, so that the American people can learn the truth about our work and most important, what happened to our democracy," the two wrote in a New York Times op-ed earlier this month.
Some of Feinstein's California colleagues ribbed the senator over the new nickname Trump gave her. "Congratulations to California's own @SenFeinstein on officially earning her own @realDonaldTrump nickname," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted Wednesday, adding that the nickname was a sign Feinstein was "clearly doing something right."
But Trump's attack on Feinstein isn't a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence — it's simply the latest example of how President Trump tends to insult prominent women who he views as opposing him.
He repeatedly calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of his most vocal critics, "Pocahontas" in an attempt to disparage her Native American heritage. In October, he criticized Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's weight. October also saw the president attack Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, calling her "wacky" and alleging she was "killing the Democratic Party." And in December, Trump attacked "lightweight" Gillibrand on Twitter — in a sexually suggestive tweet, Trump said the New York senator had begged him for campaign contributions and "would do anything for them."
In fact, the president has been criticized repeatedly for how he treats — and talks about — women. At least 16 women have gone on the record to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct; those accusations range from assault, unwanted groping, nonconsensual kissing, and sexual harassment to walking in on women while they were in various stages of undress. Trump has strongly denied these allegations and has called his accusers "liars."
But with another three years left to go in Trump's presidency, this likely won't be the last time we see him lash out at prominent women like Feinstein.