After a critical meeting on Tuesday, conflicting reports emerge over whether President Trump will firmly back a more ambitious federal sentencing bill in the Senate instead of just the House version focused on prisoner re-entry reforms.
CNN reported Tuesday night that President Trump will announce today that he is supporting the latest iteration of the First Step Act, a bill that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has been working to craft and build support for alongside a bipartisan group of senators. Citing “two sources close to the process,” the network reported that the president has wavered on whether to throw his support behind the bill in recent months, but the sources said he was swayed to back the bill on Tuesday after meeting with Kushner.
The Washington Post, however, cites its anonymous sources to call Trump a “soft yes” who has not fully committed to backing the legislation. The criminal justice overhaul, scaled back from its initial ambitious Senate draft but vastly more comprehensive than legislation the House passed this year, could be one of the most significant and bipartisan laws signed by Trump in his first two years in office. Opponents of the overhaul push lost a high-ranking ally when Jeff Sessions, who opposed any initiative to relax sentencing laws, resigned as attorney general last week. Supporters of the measure expect that Trump’s explicit backing will help propel the prison and sentencing overhaul bill through Congress, a push White House officials hope to accomplish during the lame duck session of Congress.