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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will not seek a leadership position on the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, regardless of whether Democrats take control of the Senate in upcoming runoff elections, she said Monday.

Why it matters: Feinstein, who at 87 years old is the oldest member of the Senate, has at times drawn backlash from progressives in her party, including for her approach to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Feinstein has served as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee since 2017. She will continue to serve on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees.

What she's saying: Feinstein said she will focus her attention on California's wildfire and drought crises. She added, "I also believe that defeating COVID-19, combating climate change and protecting access to health care are critical national priorities that require even more concentration."

  • “I look forward to continuing to serve as a senior Democrat on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees as we work with the Biden administration on priorities like gun safety, immigration reform and addressing inequities in criminal justice. I will continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years.”

Go deeper

Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet tracker: Which nominees have been confirmed

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All of President Biden's Cabinet nominees have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: Biden now has known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.