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Trump: I'll overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform

Trump: I'll overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform

Postby smix » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:34 pm

Trump: I'll overrule Sessions on criminal justice reform
The Hill

URL: https://thehill.com/homenews/administra ... ice-reform
Category: Politics
Published: October 11, 2018

Description: President Trump on Thursday said he would overrule Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he tries to stymie efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system. “If he doesn't, then he gets overruled by me,” Trump said when asked during an interview with “Fox & Friends” about Sessions's opposition to the effort. “There has to be a reform because it's very unfair right now,” the president added. “It's very unfair to African-Americans. It's very unfair to everybody. And it's also very costly.” Sessions, a law-and-order candidate who became estranged from Trump over the Russia probe, played a role in successfully urging the president to put off action on criminal justice reform before the midterm elections. But Trump now appears to have made the issue a top priority thanks in large measure to the advocacy of senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, his son in law. “Jared Kushner has kept the president in the loop and today’s statements by the president are indicative that he’s interested in this issue and is the one that will make the final decision,” said a person familiar with the discussion, who added that Kushner has briefed the president regularly on the matter. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and other lawmakers have also urged Trump to support criminal-justice legislation in Congress. Trump's comments came hours before he was scheduled to have lunch with the rapper Kanye West and former NFL star Jim Brown, who are expected to urge Trump to move forward with sentencing and prison reforms. The president heaped praise on West and Brown, saying the support from the rapper caused his approval among African-Americans to shoot up "like 25 percent" because "he's got a big following in the African-American community." "First of all, I like him a lot," Trump said of West. "He's a friend of mine. I've known him for a long time. He's a different kind of guy. He's a very different kind of a guy, I say that in a positive way." West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, played an active role in persuading Trump to grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense committed in the early 1990s. Trump said Kardashian “brought the attention to Mrs. Johnson” and said it was unfair that she received such a long sentence. The president also noted prison reform efforts in Texas and Georgia. Criminal justice reform appears to have fresh momentum on Capitol Hill as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he would bring the issue to the floor after the Nov. 6 election if it has enough votes to overcome a filibuster. “We’re going to try real hard to get it done,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Hill Wednesday.
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Trump: 'I make the decision' on prison reform, not Sessions

Postby smix » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:56 pm

Trump: 'I make the decision' on prison reform, not Sessions
Politico

URL: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/ ... orm-892163
Category: Politics
Published: October 11, 2018

Description: President Donald Trump said Thursday that the United States criminal justice system needs reform and is "very unfair to African-Americans" and that he would overrule Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he tried to stand in the way of changes. The White House in August agreed to hold off on prison and sentencing reform legislation until after the midterm elections. The Department of Justice supported the stance, saying that the legislation would put "drug traffickers back on our streets." But on Thursday, asked during a phone call with "Fox & Friends" whether Sessions is standing in the way of criminal justice reform, Trump said the decision is not up to the attorney general. "He gets overruled by me," Trump said. "I make the decision, he doesn't." "We do need reform, and that doesn't mean easy," the president said during the wide-ranging 40-minute interview. "We're going to make certain categories tougher when it comes to drug dealing and other things, but there has to be a reform because it is very unfair right now. It's very unfair to African-Americans. It is very unfair to everybody, and it is also very costly." The president is set to meet Thursday with former professional football player Jim Brown and rapper Kanye West, who are expected to push for criminal justice reform. Both have previously met with Trump and have endorsed the president. Trump gave the example of Alice Johnson, who was serving a life sentence for nonviolent drug offenses after being jailed in the 1990s, to explain why he feels reform is needed. Johnson, 63, was granted clemency by Trump in June after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West met with him to advocate for Johnson. "You have many people like Mrs. Johnson that are in jail for another 35 years on a charge that, frankly, everything is serious, but you don't get life imprisonment because you're talking over a telephone about something," the president said. Trump also praised Kanye West, Kardashian West's husband, saying he "has been a friend of mine," adding that he is "a very different kind of a guy. I say that in positive way, but he is a very different kind of a guy." The president also touted that his "polls went up like 25 percent" after the rapper came out in support of him, adding that he has "a big, big following" and "is respected." "You know what he wants? He is not asking anything for himself," Trump said. "He doesn't say, 'Gee, I want to do this or that.' He is a private guy. He wants to help people. I think maybe more than anything is prison reform because his wife was terrific, Kim. She brought the attention to Mrs. Johnson."
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