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stated on September 21, 2020 in a blog post:
Photo shows Dianne Feinstein “bullying” Lisa Murkowski over “the now empty seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
true false
Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 23, 2020

Photo of Feinstein, Murkowski from 2018, not 2020

If Your Time is short

  • This photo was taken in 2018, as senators considered the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

In September 2018, as senators considered the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a CBS News journalist captured Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in the Capitol. 

Murkowski appears to be standing in a doorway while Feinstein leans toward her with a hand pressed against the wall by the Alaska senator’s head. Their exchange was inaudible, the Hill reported, but they appeared to be on good terms, hugging when they met and then stepping aside to whisper to each other. 

Nearly three years later, the image is being recast as a recent interaction as senators now grapple with the Supreme Court vacancy left since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Sept. 18. 

"Feinstein caught on camera bullying Murkowski," reads the headline of a Sept. 21 blog post that’s being shared on social media. 

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The blog post mentions Kavanaugh but goes on to frame the photo as showing Feinstein and Murkowski huddling more recently. 

"Feinstein was in staunch opposition to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and is equally opposed to President Donald Trump even making a nomination to fill the now-empty seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," the post says. "While Murkowski wants the nomination postponed until after the election, since the Trump announcement of a nominee will not be made until the weekend — after Ginsburg has been buried — there is no indication of how she would vote on a nominee. And, oh yes, the President himself has said his list is made up of five women. With this in mind, Feinstein cornered Murkowski — literally physically."

Back in 2018, Murkowski voted against Kavanaugh. And on Sept. 20 of this year, the day before this blog post was published, Murkowski announced that she would not support filling Ginsburg’s seat before the presidential election. 

"For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election," she said in a statement. "Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now a reality, but my position has not changed." 

The photo in this blog post is authentic, though we don’t know what, exactly, was happening as Feinstein and Murkowski huddled together in 2018. But the post wrongly gives the impression that this is a recent interaction connected to the political fight over whether to fill Ginsburg’s seat on the court before the election. It’s not. We rate this post False.


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Photo of Feinstein, Murkowski from 2018, not 2020

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