During a closed-door meeting, President Trump made it clear he wants to revisit the politically charged issue of prison and sentencing reforms after November’s elections. “Trump said he opposes the idea of letting opioid traffickers get early release to home confinement or halfway houses, and he opposes reducing the mandatory minimum sentences for those offenses,” The Hill reports.
President Trump threw cold water on a criminal-justice reform package being crafted in the Senate on Thursday, reports The Hill. During a closed-door meeting at the White House, Trump made it clear he wants to revisit the politically charged issue after November’s midterm elections. “Trump said he opposes the idea of letting opioid traffickers get early release to home confinement or halfway houses, and he opposes reducing the mandatory minimum sentences for those offenses,” said a source. Trump’s decision came amid a huddle with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump’s stance dealt a blow to advocates of the compromise proposal on Capitol Hill and in the administration — including Kushner, who is the president’s son-in-law. The measure would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenses in an effort to shrink the size of the federal prison population, which has boomed over several decades.
Trump had previously indicated he thought positively of the reform plan, telling Republican senators this month that he is open to it. Senate Republican leaders were reluctant to take a vote on an issue that could divide the GOP ahead of the November midterms. Koch Industries general counsel Mark Holden said the news came as a “major disappointment.” Criminal justice reform is one of the network’s top agenda items, with officials having worked closely alongside Kushner. Holden said, “It’s sad that members of both parties would rather play politics than work together to advance meaningful criminal justice reforms that we know work.” Despite the setback on Thursday, proponents of a potential agreement remained optimistic Congress would eventually pass a deal on criminal justice reform. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) said he was “encouraged” by Trump’s comments on Thursday, saying that a bill could pass “overwhelmingly” after the election.