Senate’s Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill Considered A Win For Trump. When Will He Collect On This One?
A bipartisan criminal justice reform bill aimed at reducing recidivism and changing mandatory minimum prison sentences passed the U.S. Senate and is headed to the House for approval before it goes to the president’s office for his signature.
It’s considered a significant victory for Donald Trump and his son-in-law, senior advisor Jared Kushner. Both deserve credit for their role in pushing the First Step legislation, said CNN commentator Van Jones.
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Criminal justice reform was one of Kushner’s major policy goals since arriving in the White House, The Hill reported.
“A Christmas miracle just happened,” Jones told CNN’s Don Lemon. “Since 1988 when George H.W. Bush put out that Willie Horton ad, both political parties then rushed to build prisons and be tough on crime. We’ve been trapped for decades now. That nightmare began to come to an end tonight.”
The Senate voted 87-12 to pass the bill — almost unheard-of these days. The bill reduces mandatory existing sentences by 53,000 years and addresses the sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine.
“When there was an addiction crisis in the brown and Black communities, they said throw these people in prison,” Jones said. “Now that there’s an addiction crisis in poor white rural communities, they say give these people help. The reality is now you’ve got common pain in all these communities. Now we finally have some common purpose to begin to do a better job.”
Jones compared First Step legislation to the 1959 Civil Rights Act which broke the logjam in U.S. civil rights and set the stage for subsequent legislation.
“This is the first step,” Jones said. “It’s not the last step. We will get to all the other issues. Donald Trump shocked me and a bunch of people by doing the right thing. He’s been wrong on 99 issues. On this issue (he’s right). Every time people made a prediction that Donald Trump was going to sell us out turn on turn on us he came harder. As a result, it is now safe for people in both political parties to speak honestly. We know this prison system is not working, sending people home bitter and not better and Donald Trump has got to get the credit.”
Twitter users found humor in thinking about Trump benefiting from the reforms he helped push.
The commander in chief may already have been served with a sealed indictment but it will only come to light once he leaves office, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano told Fox anchor Shepard Smith Monday.
“There’s ample evidence … to indict the president,” Napolitano said. “The question is do they want to do it. The DOJ has three opinions on this. Two say you can’t indict a sitting president, one says you can but all three address the problem of what do you do when the statute of limitations is about to expire. All three agree in that circumstance you indict in secret, keep the indictment sealed and release it the day they get out of office.”
A BIPARTISAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM BILL JUST PASSED THE SENATE!
This was years in the making. Thousands will obtain greater justice and new pathways to liberation as a result of this bill. This is just one step. This is just the beginning. The work must continue. Onward! ✨
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 19, 2018
President Trump “became, to the shock of everybody, the biggest, loudest champion on criminal justice … I got 99 conflicts with the Trump administration, prisons are not one.”
— New Day (@NewDay) December 19, 2018
I guess the prospect of being exposed as a criminal makes one more sympathetic to criminals.
— \7H3__̞͇̳̥W̘̬̟̦̮͎̦̘͎ͅ1͍̥͙̪̻̼̪̥͕̦ͅZ4̞͈̱̦͙͎̫RD͇͇͚// (@_7H3_W1Z4RD_) December 19, 2018
“Broadly speaking, the First Step Act makes heavy investments in a package of incentives and new programs intended to improve prison conditions and better prepare low-risk prisoners for re-entry into their communities.” –@nytimes #CJReform https://t.co/Fm4rzXJDgA
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) December 19, 2018
Nice. Too bad you couldn’t get it done when a legitimate president could sign it.
— Geri Rodriguez (@GeriRodriguez) December 19, 2018
— Brennan Center (@BrennanCenter) December 19, 2018
This is honestly the best thing I've heard the government do all year.
— Brave Heart (@BlueQuasar) December 19, 2018
The largest increase in the federal prison population is nonviolent drug offenders, and this is largely because of inflexible mandatory minimum sentences. The #FirstStepAct would reduce federal mandatory minimum penalties in a targeted way. #cjreform
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) December 18, 2018
👏👏Now run for President stat!
— Lisa Rose Sockett (@lsockett1) December 19, 2018
Thank you, @SenBillNelson! When @FAMMFoundation brought Florida families with incarcerated loved ones to your office in July, your staff listened to their stories and cried. #FirstStepAct will make the prison experience a little easier for thousands. https://t.co/Jr3qRyGajY
— Molly M. Gill (@mmgillwriter) December 18, 2018
“Tonight we stand as neither Republican or Democrats but as a people seeking to take the first step of many to criminal justice reform.” @JessyMichele #firststepact #cjreform #cut50 #CJReformPassed https://t.co/xGl79TLuY9
— The Dream Corps (@thedreamcorps) December 19, 2018