Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is one of the most extreme authoritarians in Congress. He led the crusade to go behind President Barack Obama’s back and try to derail talks with Iran. He tanked immigration reform twice, once when he was in the House and once in the Senate. And he once claimed the only problem with the Guantanamo Bay detention facility — which has broadly been condemned as a violation of human rights and international law — is that there are too many empty beds.
And, notes POLITICO, he vehemently opposes the FIRST STEP Act, a bipartisan attempt to enact criminal justice reform and lessen mass incarceration:
Cotton is trying to use the same hard-edged tactics he deployed in the past to beat back the bill, arguing that Republican supporters will be held accountable if someone let out of prison under the bill’s terms commits a serious crime.
“We shouldn’t release serious and repeat-violence felons, which is what the bill will do. It will be bad for anyone who votes for it,” Cotton said in an interview Wednesday. Political strategists “think this bill will be as toxic as immigration.”
But Cotton’s attempts to block this bill appear to be doomed. Everyone from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Fraternal Order of Police to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to President Donald Trump supports the bill. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has now agreed to bring it to the floor after initially resisting the bipartisan pressure.
The version of the FIRST STEP Act being debated in the Senate is more expansive than the version that passed the House earlier this year. It would give federal judges discretion to impose shorter sentences, require federal prisoners be incarcerated within 500 miles of their families, and allow wardens to grant time credits to certain federal prisoners who complete recidivism-reduction programs, that would downgrade the final years of their sentence to house arrest or a halfway house.
Contrary to Cotton’s dire warnings, nothing in this bill would release violent criminals. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a former prosecutor, penned a lengthy essayin the conservative National Review blasting Cotton’s ignorance of the bill and saying his complaint “do not survive scrutiny.”
It is a spectacular and rare achievement when such an important bill generates this level of bipartisan consensus in Washington. Cotton is desperate to derail that consensus — and he is failing.
CNN conservative zaps every Trump supporters’ argument against impeachment
Republican-turned-Independent David Gergen served in four presidential administrations, two of which were impeached. When he heard one of President Donald Trump's shills on CNN Wednesday evening, he was quick to flatten the argument.
Scott Jennings argued that what Democrats were doing was unprecedented, but CNN commentator Kirsten Powers said that former President Bill Clinton was nearly thrown out of office for lying about an affair, something she argued was far less important than extorting a foreign power to sway a presidential election.
Seth Meyers flattens Trump’s latest impeachment defense tactic — ‘slurring like a lunatic’ during rallies
Late-night comedian Seth Meyers observed that most people who were inches from being fired from their job would try and prove that they should remain. President Donald Trump, however, has taken a different path, "slurring like a lunatic while throwing in some of his trademark sexism."
Meyers played a clip of Trump's rally where he went after everything from admitting he demanded the Ukraine president say what he asked and an allegation that there'd be windmills all over the country under Hillary Clinton. Trump previously alleged that wind energy is dangerous because the windmills cause ear cancer. After an attack on Beto O'Rourke, Trump turned to Elizabeth Warren, who he said, "opened her fresh mouth."
Rachel Maddow wonders if Putin told Trump Seoul was nowhere near North Korea to mess with him
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was flabbergasted by the recent revelation that Trump thought he could displace an entire South Korean city so that the 2,000 year-old capital would be safer. To make matters worse, President Donald Trump asked Russian President Vladimir Putin what he wanted the U.S. leader to do with North Korea.
The host compared the move to what it would be like to move the entirety of New York City, which has a smaller population than Seoul.