Mitch Mcconnell, Donald Trump, Jessica Jackson discussed on Stephanie Miller
With Carlos Alves. Rocky. Are there? Wow. So now, what do you call it that Republicans can feel our pain on Mitch McConnell and this obstructionist? Our next guest is Jessica Jackson. She is a human rights attorney and has been working with this is something that is like the so the Trump administration's behind us. I saw Lindsey Graham on meet the press actually sounding reasonable for once about something. This is a really good Bill. Jessica has been it's called the first step act for prison reform. She has been working with the Trump White House on it. So we check in with her now, Jessica good morning. Good morning. Thanks for having me on. Thank you for coming on your good friend of our friend, Melissa FitzGerald, who of course, works in criminal Justice reform as well. She says you are a rockstar is what I'm told. He's the rock star. I just play back up. So this is a really I I hate to tell you so on Q when we booked you this morning. The news story that came down divisions in GOP may leave Trump hierarchy and Senate limbo, it Trump back criminal reform Justice Bill hitting a major roadblock in the Senate. Mitch mcconnell. I know you're working in a in a bipartisan fashion, so I will refrain from calling him a treasonous rat bastard in an obstructionist douchebag for the remainder of this interview. However, this must be so talk to us. This is such an interesting personal story for you. The first of all let's just say the Bill is supported by Nancy Pelosi. Cory Booker Trump Grassley, right? You stood next to Trump. I'm sorry last Wednesday when you hosted a press conference. Endorsing the Bill. But here we go with Mitch McConnell, again, tell us what is happening with this. Yeah. And I'll I'll just start by giving people some background because I think it. Groundbreaking comes out of left field that any progressive would be over there working with Republicans or or with Trump. So for me, this issue is a lot more than than just something. I work on work. It's really personal when I was twenty two years old. I found myself standing in a courtroom in Georgia watching as my husband got sent in fifteen thirty six and at the time, you know, we had just had our daughter. She was two months old. I had my GED did not have college your law school at that point. And I it was terrifying. It was humiliating, and it was the most painful experience I've gone through. So. This is this is really personal. And and when we got the opportunity to start working with Republicans this year on this Bill, I had to put aside my political dos, and I had to go back and think about that twenty two year old girl standing there scared in the courtroom, and what she would have wanted me to do. And that's how we ended up working with the Trump White House on that. And just just in case people missed your husband was a minor drug related offense. And there you are standing with your two month old daughter in your arms. So you went and got your law degree or human rights attorney co-founder of cut fifty which is a national bipartisan effort to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails this seems like a no brainer to me. You know? I mean once again, I I'm like, why would you be against this? The Bill would prioritize prison resources toward rehabilitation so men and women come home after incarceration job ready. It passed right way, huge margin. Nancy Pelosi one hundred percent of the Democratic Party leadership endorsing the Bill. So then we moved to the. Senate. And here we go. I mean, I listen, I'm not like you. I'm not bipartisan, I'm a partisan bomb thrower. That's mcconnell. Is it just it is he's been so obstructionist. But this this again, should not be something that that's partisan should it. It shouldn't be something that's partisan even as Republicans look at this. They should be seeing. This is a huge opportunity to really cold site to their conservative principles of dignity and fiscal responsibility. I mean, we have a system that is become an incarceration industry rate. We spend eighty billion dollars a year to lockup two point two million people and tear apart their families and turn them out even worse off than they were when they went in with fewer opportunities than an inability to get housing or employment in this Bill actually speaks to roll a lot about back. It's interesting when we got to the Senate we had an opportunity to even improve the Bill now got some sentencing reforms in it that make the system more fair on the front end to not as many people are going to spend. As long in prison. And it sets up a program called the risk in needs assessment program in which people will undergo risk assessments in overtime, the be able to take programming and actually earned time credits to go home on home confinement or to go to halfway houses, even sooner than they would have been released. It has a huge impact. But like you said we've kind of run into a wall here. Mitch McConnell promised us that if we were able to get busy senators to vote for it if we were able to get gone on from to endorse day, we were able to get the more law enforcement group on it. And if we were able to finalize the language in and get it filed he would give us a vote after the midterm. Yeah. The truth is he never expected we'd be able to do that. And now that we have to move the goalposts now, I know you've been working with Jared Kushner, I'm I'm I'm submerging every instinct of mine to say. Horrible partisan things in ruin your chances. Because I know this must be hard for you to worked into a bipartisan fashion, though. And then I just I this Republican party just got I don't know what to say about it. I mean, you've got your usual suspects. Tom cotton calling this get out of jail free. You know, Bill or whatever. And so now Mitch McConnell is dealing with that right with his his more conservative members. Because I I don't really understand like obviously with the coalition that you've gotten together we even colluding Trump in the White House. And as we talked about Lindsey Graham on meet the press urging him Mitch to bring it to the floor. Why why is he against it? What does Mitch? It's just having to placate his crazy right wing base. Or what? You know, I think he's worried about tying four time in the Senate. Obviously, he's been on quite a tear confirming all of these judges that we don't like. And I think he's worried about you know, splitting up his conference. Like, you said, it's a very small very vocal minority of Republicans who are actually against this Tom cotton, Senator Kennedy, Senator those are really the only voices. We're hearing at this point coming out in office. Well, it's interesting because just last week not only did the president endorsed this. But the fraternal order of police came on board the the international association of police chief. Yeah. Been an incredible. Like you said Cory Booker. Yeah. You know, it's been an incredible kind of partisan effort and for Richmond Connell to not see that as an opportunity, even if he hates this issue. Not that as an opportunity to claim some sort of victory for his speakership is well first leadership as well. As for the president is is really dumped. I hate to say it is Travis were saying they only care about winning. And I hate to put it in such stark terms. What you were saying like there was a story about some Republicans are afraid that Trump's gonna work Democrats on bipartisan stuff 'cause he needs a win desperately needs a win after the midterms. But for someone like you that cares. So personally about this, and how many millions of people this is going to affect like, you think who cares. Why they do it? Our how it gets done. The New York Times called it. The most substantial rewrite of the nation. Sentencing and prison laws in generations. Yeah. I mean at this point. I I don't know if I've mentioned I'm not a Trump fan. Jessica. But if if we can. I mean, this is fifteen Jeffrey Bill this Bill was. This is a Bill that comes out of really most important set of advocates on this issue, which are those were formerly incarcerated Broughton, an and you won't almost even believe this group of thirty formerly incarcerated individuals to the White House. Trump White House prisoner form summit in may, and they stopped there just feet away. From Ben attorney general Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump advice president time, and they talked about the horrible horrible things. They had gone through while in prison, and how hard it had been to come out and heal from that and move forward with their lives and all of the obstacles they face. And they were the ones who helped us. Yeah. And you know, go to congress and demand devote over in the house. Yeah. It's fair Bill this victory. Should should we win? Should we get to the finish line? This is not Trump's victory is victory. Belongs to the men and women who are inside and their family. Yeah. Well, I mean, again, I obviously read up and see what great work you're doing. But I did want to have you on just for sympathy for this line. Jessica stood right next to President Trump last Wednesday. When he hosted a press conference in the Roosevelt room endorsing the Bill. I am so sorry. But. Well, I was like oh my God. One of the happiest moments in my life. Because I have to say why I love this part of the story. You told the story about you know, your husband getting sentenced to six years in prison for a minor drug offence. You're standing in that courtroom holding your two month old baby daughter, and then you say earlier this year, I stood alongside my daughter in a very different government building from that cold Georgia courtroom. We were in the west wing of the White House at a prison reform summit and she shared her story of growing up with an incarcerated parent that had to be an amazing moment for you. Yeah. It really was because you know, the shame and the humiliation that I felt the whole time he was incarcerated to be able to see how she has no processed her father's incarceration and really let it driver into becoming this activists. He's only fourteen now she's in the west wing, and she introduced vice President Mike Pence, and she talked about the impact that incarceration had had on her life and on the two point eight million children across the country who currently have a parent incarcerated very very proud of her in very proud of how far we've come on this show. Yeah. And I'm really glad that you're not watching this on TV because all of the liberals in this room when you mentioned certain names, like vice president spent just winced Carlos. But listen. Know how it is. Not been working on this issue. I should also note that this is not a lesson that fucked up in January twenty fifteen cut fifty launched with our bipartisan summit, which was co hosted by get. Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. Donna Brazile and the American conservative union Pat Nolan. So, you know, this is something that's been building their group lake the American conservative union. Where you know. There are people who have been directly impacted by this issue. Woken up and said, it's time to do the right thing and they've been instrumental in getting this administration on board. Yeah. And Jessica, I mean, I'm reading the districts a number of people in our criminal Justice system has ballooned by seven hundred percent over the past thirty years. So this is something that affects everybody, and I I don't know if you know what my dad ran with Goldwater and sixty four and was a congressman. Chairman of the Republican party, and I have to tell you. I think we all would like to go back to a time when they real people really did work across the aisle. He had friends on both sides of the aisle all went to school together. They went for drinks together. I mean. We've just gotten so far off the rails in terms of partisanship that even the fact that Mitch McConnell would stop this because of just a small minority of his Republican basis. I know would be heartbreaking for you..