Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner hosted another bipartisan groups of politicians last week to push President Donald Trump’s administration’s criminal justice agenda.
Criminal justice reform is one of the few topics where both political sides of the aisle have found agreement
The couple hosted a dinner meeting last week in order to push these reforms, which have faltered under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who supports harsher sentences. Trump and Kushner invited staunch Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah along with Democrat Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Lee’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sessions’ Justice Department (DOJ) has proved to be the largest obstacle to bipartisan reform in Congress, as Sessions is one of few major political figures who believes in toughening sentences.
“My advice was very simple, you need to solve the problem of DOJ opposition, which puts everybody who wants this done in a very difficult position,” Whitehouse told the Associated Press. “And if the president wants this done, the attorney general reports to him, and he ought to be able to sort that out.”
There had been somewhat of a bipartisan consensus on softening sentences and reducing jail populations under former President Barack Obama’s administration. It was only with the appointment of Sessions that cooperation began to falter, with some Republicans reverting toward Sessions’ “tough-on-crime” policies.
Each of the lawmakers at Kushner and Trump’s meeting are pushing various bills that would end mandatory life sentences, end three-strike laws for drug offenders, and require prosecutors to establish criminal intent before convicting defendants of a federal crime.
Lee and Durbin already have a history of teaming to push justice reforms, as both introduced bills aimed at softening sentences soon after last week’s meeting.
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