Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images; Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images
President Donald Trump is once again highlighting an area of disagreement with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this time as it relates to criminal justice reform.
Trump voiced a desire to push forward with a new policy with or without the support of Sessions.
“If he doesn’t (support reform), then he gets overruled by me,” the president said on “Fox & Friends” in an interview this week. “Because I make the decision, he doesn’t.”
Sessions has argued against the types of reform currently being discussed, including a bill that passed in the House of Representatives on strong bipartisan support.
If ultimately successful, the First Step Act would provide federal prisoners with additional opportunities for a reduced sentence and rewards for enrolling in certain programs behind bars. Sessions maintains that the prison reform would “make the country less safe,” according to the Washington Examiner.
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Trump’s comments came one day after a White House visit by rapper Kanye West, who made criminal justice reform a central issue during his lunch with the president on Thursday.
West also met with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, a strong proponent for such reforms.
The president met with West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, at the White House earlier this year.
That meeting touched on similar issues, specifically the case of Alice Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence for a first-time non-violent drug conviction.
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After hearing from Kardashian, Trump soon commuted the remainder of Johnson’s sentence. He referenced that decision in his comments this week.
Telling “Fox & Friends” hosts that West “wants to help people,” he said it is clear where the entertainer and his wife hope to make the biggest difference in society.
“More than anything is prison reform because his wife was terrific, Kim,” Trump said. “She brought the attention to Mrs. Johnson where I could look. You have many people like Mrs. Johnson 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.”
Senators on both sides of the aisle have signed on to similar proposals.
In a tweet this week, the Republican chairman of the judiciary committee also called on Sessions to support the efforts.
2/2 Pres Trump wants something done on prison/crim justice reform. So do I. will b important BIPARTISAN win for country, something many hv tried 2 accomplish for yrs. AG Sessions surely needs to support POTUS’ policy priorities, otherwise he’s UNDERMINING @realDonaldTrump
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 16, 2018
“Pres Trump wants something done on prison/crim justice reform,” Grassley tweeted. “So do I. will b important BIPARTISAN win for country, something many hv tried 2 accomplish for yrs. AG Sessions surely needs to support POTUS’ policy priorities, otherwise he’s UNDERMINING @realDonaldTrump.”
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