STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Criminal justice overhaul is tabled -- for now

President Donald Trump on Thursday tabled a criminal justice package being pushed by a group of lawmakers an...

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 9:23 AM
Updated: Aug 24, 2018 9:23 AM

President Donald Trump on Thursday tabled a criminal justice package being pushed by a group of lawmakers and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, multiple sources said.

But Trump and Republican leaders also agreed on a path forward for the legislative effort after the midterm elections, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling supporters he would gauge support for the bill as they push for a vote.

Business figures

Corrections system

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Jared Kushner

Jeff Sessions

Law and legal system

Mike Lee (Politician)

Political Figures - US

Politics

Prison reform

Prisons and jails

US Congress

US federal government

US Senate

White House

Political organizations

US political parties

US Republican Party

The outcome came after Trump met Thursday at the White House with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Kushner and other top White House officials to discuss the legislative package of sentencing and prison overhaul measures.

For weeks, lawmakers have been trying to find the sweet spot on prison legislation, with Kushner and Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and others pushing Trump to include sentencing revisions. Sessions, meanwhile, has largely opposed the effort, pushing Trump not to alleviate mandatory minimum sentences for a range of crimes.

White House officials working on the issue were hoping to push the bill to the Senate for a vote the last week of August, but a senior administration official said Trump and Republicans leaders were wary of sparking an intra-party fight so close to the midterms. Trump has told the people involved in the effort to continue to work to smooth out the issues that have sparked opposition from Sessions and some Republican senators, namely Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the senior administration official said.

That rift spilled into public view after the meeting Thursday, with a source familiar with the meeting calling it a "win" for Sessions and Sessions' Justice Department spokesman publicly slamming the bill.

"We're pleased the President agreed that we shouldn't support criminal justice reform that would reduce sentences, put drug traffickers back on our streets and undermine our law enforcement officers who are working night and day to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking in the middle of an opioid crisis," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Trump "remains committed to meaningful prison reform and will continue working with the Senate on their proposed additions to the bill."

A senior administration official separately said the claim of a "win" for Sessions shows the beleaguered attorney general is "really desperate for a win."

The White House and GOP senators supportive of the current effort will also have to contend with opposition from some Democrats who believe the modest measures in their package are insufficient.

On the Hill

Supporters of the legislation expressed confidence that they will be able to pass the sentencing bill after the midterms.

Lee, the Republican senator from Utah, insisted the criminal justice effort now has a path forward.

"This is going to happen. Those who are saying it is dead are misinformed," Lee said.

Lee also said he thinks Trump is on board and that the package would include the House-passed prison bill plus four separate sentencing provisions.

Lee and a senior administration official pointed to McConnell's pledge to hold a formal whip count on the matter and to move the bill to the floor if there is a strong majority of support.

"As long as the whip check reveals that a significant supermajority of the Senate will vote for it, time permitting, it will be scheduled for a vote," Lee said.

McConnell, who was involved in discussions between Kushner, the White House and the measure's sponsors, stopped short of saying there would be a vote on the legislation after the election. McConnell said instead that the bill's supporters would be able to continue to push for support and leadership would then whip the bill's support to see where it stood.

"The Leader made clear there will be no vote on this legislation during the pre-election work period," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. "And while no commitments were made by the Leader on holding a vote, proponents of the legislation will continue to discuss the issue with their colleagues followed by a whip count after the October session to accurately assess the Conference's view on the issue."

Trump vs. Sessions

The discussions surrounding a prison overhaul took place the same day Sessions issued a statement defending himself as the head of the Justice Department, following months of repeated criticism from the President and finally when Trump on Thursday said Sessions "never took control" of the department.

Earlier Thursday, Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who's the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, told Bloomberg: "I do have time for hearings on nominees that the President might send up here that I didn't have last year" -- an insinuation about a replacement for attorney general.

When asked for Sessions' reaction to Grassley's comments Thursday, a source close to Sessions said the attorney general isn't going to be "blackmailed" into supporting a criminal justice bill he doesn't agree with or thinks undermines the criminal justice system.

Yet Grassley later softened his stance, saying the Judiciary Committee would have time to work through any new nominations later this year -- but that that has nothing to do with Sessions.

"I'm not going to speculate on what the President might do. But I can tell you Jeff Sessions has always been a friend and is still a friend," Grassley said. "When we get Kavanaugh done we're going to have time -- anything that's in my jurisdiction that the President sends up that we have to do. But that's unrelated to any questions that people are floating around about Sessions right now. Because I wouldn't want to connect what I just told you about my having time with anything doing with Sessions."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43228

Reported Deaths: 671
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9401165
Marion5963108
Washington588578
Umatilla339345
Clackamas320666
Lane245127
Malheur194338
Jackson17427
Deschutes116113
Yamhill100515
Linn82715
Polk66315
Jefferson60510
Morrow5467
Lincoln51813
Union4772
Benton4486
Klamath4213
Douglas3638
Wasco34916
Hood River2791
Columbia2701
Josephine2693
Coos2591
Clatsop2460
Baker1333
Crook1122
Tillamook720
Curry581
Wallowa462
Lake410
Harney340
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 919276

Reported Deaths: 17529
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3033697040
Riverside672991305
San Bernardino638501073
Orange592131467
San Diego55540881
Kern34027420
Fresno31096439
Sacramento25750496
Santa Clara24558402
Alameda23576462
San Joaquin21906490
Contra Costa18817243
Stanislaus17760399
Tulare17678288
Ventura14347165
Imperial12983336
San Francisco12241145
Monterey1147291
San Mateo11232159
Santa Barbara9874126
Merced9572155
Sonoma9569136
Kings841183
Solano748076
Marin7099127
Madera505776
Placer424857
San Luis Obispo419132
Yolo323460
Butte310752
Santa Cruz282125
Napa197916
Shasta196231
Sutter187812
San Benito144415
El Dorado13614
Yuba133410
Mendocino114221
Tehama9139
Lassen7661
Lake70016
Glenn6783
Nevada6288
Humboldt56810
Colusa5536
Calaveras34721
Amador33516
Tuolumne2794
Inyo23415
Siskiyou2050
Del Norte1801
Mono1802
Mariposa802
Plumas730
Modoc430
Trinity280
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 25°
Grants Pass
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 36°
Klamath Falls
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Cold morning, warm afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events