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US attorney general Jeff Sessions opposes plan to reform prison sentencing

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday warned the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to not approve a draft criminal sentencing reform bill that he claims would reduce sentences for “a highly dangerous cohort of criminals.”

In a letter seen by Reuters, Sessions told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and fellow Republican Charles Grassley that he feared passage of the legislation would be “a grave error.”

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Grassley’s committee is slated to make edits to the draft bill at a hearing on Thursday, before it can be sent to the full Senate for a possible vote.

The bill, unveiled by a bipartisan group of lawmakers last fall, aims to lessen prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and it would also do away with the three-strike mandatory life provision.

It would also give judges more discretion in how they sentence non-violent offenders.

At the same time, it would toughen sentencing in some cases by adding mandatory minimums for crimes such as interstate domestic violence and trafficking in fentanyl-laced heroin.

Sessions’ opposition to the draft bill comes as no surprise.

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During his time in the Senate, he helped to kill a similar bill that was backed by many of his Republican and Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee.

Since becoming attorney general a little more than a year ago, Sessions has made combating violent crime, illegal immigration and drug offenses his priority.

Last year, he issued a memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys’ offices instructing them to charge people with the highest provable offense – a move that is designed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences under laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s that critics say can wrongfully criminalize drug addicts and disproportionately affect minority communities.

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He also has blamed marijuana for directly helping fuel the ongoing opioid epidemic, and earlier this year he revoked Obama-era guidance that urged federal prosecutors not to prioritize marijuana cases in states where it is legal.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)

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Shocking photos document the devastating flooding pummeling San Francisco

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San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.

"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.

"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.

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North Korea announces ‘test of very great importance’ occurred at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground: report

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North Korea state media reported on a "successful" test at a missile launch site.

"A very important test took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the afternoon of December 7, 2019," a spokesperson for the Academy of the National Defense Science said.

The spokesperson said the test was "of great significance to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

https://twitter.com/nktpnd/status/1203486463209431041

#UPDATE North Korea conducts a "very important test" at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media reports, as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked https://t.co/abYhRDvBic pic.twitter.com/neCYEQTEhf

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Here’s why Ukrainians are shocked about Rudy Giuliani’s new associate

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President Donald Trump's personal attorney is causing "shock" among Ukrainians for working with Andrey Artemenko, according to new reports.

"In an attempt to exonerate President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News Network (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking investigations of the Bidens," Law & Crime reported Saturday.

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