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May 30, 2018

"Trump wishes he hadn't picked Jeff Sessions for attorney general"

The title of this post is the headline of this new CNN article.  My first snarky reaction to this headline was to mutter "join the club" and also to recall my failed advocacy here for Ted Cruz to be Prez Trump's AG pick.  Especially given Jared Kushner's obvious commitment to significant criminal justice reforms, I think advocate for sentencing reform have to look at this headline and continued to imagine what might have been had Prez Trump picked another AG.

That all said, I cannot help but wonder if Prez Trump's continuing disaffinity for AG Sessions (and enduring affinity for Jared Kushner) can still serve as a kind of good news for sentencing reform advocates.  Though I doubt AG Sessions will resign, it seems unlikely Prez Trump will fully trust him or back him on issues like criminal justice reform or marijuana reform that obviously divide folks in the Trump Administration and throughout the GOP leadership.  So, if the Senate manages to get some piece of sentencing reform into a federal criminal justice bill, AG Sessions' advocact of a veto will not likely carry the day with Prez Trump if Kushner and key GOP leaders are backing the measure.

May 30, 2018 at 10:57 AM | Permalink


I strongly suspect that, when it comes to criminal justice reform, President Trump and the Attorney General are aligned. He campaigned as a "law and order" candidate (to the point that he seemed delightfully retro), so reducing mass incarceration doesn't seem to be a priority. I think his issues with Sessions are entirely related to the Special Prosecutor.

Posted by: Erik M | May 30, 2018 2:07:39 PM

I think you are generally right, Erik, but Trump's recent vocal support for prison reform (which the AG reportedly opposes strongly) is evidence that Trump's son-in-law can talk his pop into supporting criminal justice reform. With AG Sessions, Mr. Kushner might be able to get even broader reforms advanced.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 30, 2018 2:40:21 PM

"Night and Fog" would be a huge reform and nearly empty the prisons.

Posted by: Docile the Kind Soul in Oregon | May 30, 2018 6:24:20 PM

With all due respect to the President, I think Mr. Trump's views are most closely aligned with the last person to whom he spoke. Nevertheless, no person hoped more than I did that the flurry of media reports last summer that the President was about to cashier Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III were accurate.

As I recall, James Safire once referred to the man who was then occupying the White House as a "pimple on the ass of progress." No description is more fitting of our Attorney General.

Posted by: Tom Root | May 31, 2018 7:35:17 AM

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