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Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images.

In an interview with with HuffPost while visiting Iowa, Sen. Cory Booker slammed a decades-old piece of criminal justice legislation that 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden helped to pass, calling it a "shameful ... bad bill."

What's happening: Booker, who's focusing his campaign largely on criminal justice reform, said he disagrees with a 1994 bill that Biden helped author and pass to reduce crime. Opponents of the bill argue that its effects unreasonably increased rates of mass incarceration, particularly among communities of color.

The bill implemented the "three strikes you're out" rule, which expanded circumstances eligible for life sentences. The legislation also lengthened the list of crimes qualifying for the death penalty.

“I use this word sincerely. I love Joe Biden. The incentives they put in that bill for people to raise mandatory minimums, for building prisons and jails... overwhelmingly putting people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses that members of Congress and the Senate admit to breaking now. That bill was awful.”
— Cory Booker in an interview with HuffPost

The other side: Biden has pushed back against claims that the crime bill boosted such numbers, stating at a campaign event earlier this month that the bill "did not generate mass incarceration."

  • Biden further argued that the bill only applied to federal violations of the law, which make up a small portion of total prosecutions.

For the record: President Trump also blasted the bill, writing on Twitter that: “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected. In particular, African Americans will not be able to vote for you!”

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.