U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have some difficulty pushing his “tough on crime” agenda, which includes a new directive asking federal prosecutors to go for the maximum penalty for drug offenders, if President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, has anything to do with it.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Kushner has been meeting with both Congressional leaders and drug reform advocates to discuss potential changes in the way the federal government deals with the criminal justice issue.
One of the leading policies Kushner is pushing to reform is a reduction in mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
“He’s quietly listening to all sides, including outside groups, to understand what’s possible and to ultimately be able to make a recommendation to the president,” a White House official told the WSJ. “It’s a personal issue to him given his father spent time in prison. He got to know the families and got to see what’s wrong with the federal prison system.”
In 2005, Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, was sentenced to two-years in prison for tax evasion.
White House officials says that Kushner has already met with Attorney General Sessions in an attempt to establish some common ground in the fight to keep dangerous offenders behind bars without throwing those without a tendency for violence to the wolves.
Some influential members of Congress believe Sessions will ultimately lose in his attempt to incarcerate his way to a safer America.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, recently said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute that, “Passing a sentencing bill remains a top legislative priority for me as chairman.”
He believes there is enough support in the Trump administration to get it done.
“We have a chance of getting the support of this administration,” he said. “You look at some people appointed by this president, you might believe otherwise, but I have reason to believe it’s possible. I know there is both support and opposition within this White House.”
Last year, in his role as Alabama Senator, Sessions voted against a sentencing bill that would have put fewer drug offenders behind bars. As President Trump’s attorney general, Sessions has ramped up the fight against people convicted of drug crimes by directing federal prosecutors to go for maximum sentences.
Grassley says he is simply waiting for input from the White House before reviving the sentencing bill. Kushner’s recommendation on this issue is expected to be integral in how President Trump responds.
A number of criminal justice reform bills have been introduced in recent weeks, but none are expected to receive any consideration until later this year.