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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.”

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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


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‘The president is lying’: Trump gets immediately debunked by CNN after claiming he stopped ‘send her back’ chant

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President Donald Trump said Thursday that he stopped the North Carolina rally crowd from chanting "send her back" during a rant about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). But CNN immediately called him out for the false claim.

"I didn’t like that they did it and I started speaking very quickly," Trump told the press. "Excuse me. Really? If you would have heard, there was a tremendous amount of noise and action and everything else. I started very quickly. And I think you know that. Maybe you’re giving me too much credit. You’re used to giving me too much credit. Thank you, everybody. I will try. I will certainly try, yes."

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Trump’s racism isn’t a grand plan to win in 2020 — he’s just a ‘blithering idiot’: GOP strategist

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President Donald Trump over the last week has made overtly racist attacks on four Democratic women of color, which has led to speculation that the president believes using racism is the key to winning reelection in 2020.

However, Republican strategist Stuart Stevens, who is currently working for Trump primary challenger Bill Weld, says it would be a mistake to confuse Trump's bigoted impulses with a well thought out battle plan.

"There is always this need to attribute this master plan to Trump because otherwise, you have to come to terms with the fact that he’s a blithering idiot," Stevens said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

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2020 Election

Here is why Nancy Pelosi allowed a House impeachment vote

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Admitting that he isn't privy to insider knowledge from the Democratic leadership, Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Bernstein suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be playing a much longer game on the possibility of impeachment hearings on Donald Trump than her detractors believe.

Wondering, "Is Nancy Pelosi closer to impeachment?' Bernstein writes, "Usually, when a regular bill or resolution has been introduced, it’s then referred to committee. If the majority party doesn’t want to consider the bill, it will die with no further action. Under House rules, however, any member can force an impeachment resolution onto the floor as pending business. That’s what [Rep. Al] Green (D-TX) did Wednesday."

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