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Kim Kardashian enters the White House grounds. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman serving a life sentence without parole for a nonviolent drug offense, on Wednesday following his recent Oval Office meeting with Kim Kardashian West on Johnson’s case.

The big picture: Thanks to pressure from Kardashian, the commutation, in addition to the president's other high-profile clemency cases, puts a renewed focus on the Trump administration’s push for prison and sentencing reform. Meanwhile, an internal battle has been playing out between Jared Kushner, who's pushing for more criminal justice reform, and the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department, which has adopted a “tough on crime” approach toward drugs and sentencing guidelines.

Timeline:
  • Johnson, who’s has been serving her sentence in federal prison in Aliceville, Alabama, was convicted in 1996 on eight criminal counts related to a Memphis-based cocaine trafficking operation. The White House said she has served almost 22 years in federal prison for a first-time criminal offense.
  • Kardashian told Mic that Johnson’s case came to her attention last October when she watched a video about the case.
  • A month later, she reportedly tasked a team of attorneys, including her personal lawyer, to provide legal support for a petition seeking clemency for Johnson.
  • In early May, Mic and Axios reported that Kardashian and Kushner were talking directly by phone about a possible presidential pardon for Johnson.
  • Kardashian met with Trump and Kushner last Wednesday at the White House to discuss prison and sentencing reform, as well as Johnson's case.
What they're saying:

A statement released by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Johnson “has accepted responsibility for her past behavior and has been a model prisoner ... worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates. ”

  • Key quote: "While this Administration will always be very tough on crime, it believes that those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance."

Be smart: Criminal justice reform advocates view Johnson’s case, and many others still serving, as a glaring example of why systemic reform is needed. There are 1,545 people in federal prisoners without parole for drug offenses, the American Civil Liberties Union said, citing the Bureau of Prisons statistics.

Go deeper

Scoop: Over 200 papers take on Big Tech

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Shrugging off Omicron

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: The last question only includes 589 employed respondents; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Most Americans aren't willing to make big changes in their behavior to minimize the risk from the Omicron variant, like avoiding indoor restaurant dining or cancelling their holiday travel plans, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

The big picture: The poll found support for some broader public responses, including one — travel bans aimed at people from other countries — that was widely supported by people across the political spectrum. But it found that Americans are only willing to do so much on their own.

Rohingya refugees sue Facebook over Myanmar hate speech

Internally displaced Rohingya peoples at a market area in the Baw Du Pha IDP Camp in Sittwe in Myanmar's western Rakhine state. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Rohingya refugees accused Facebook in a $150 million lawsuit filed Monday of amplifying hate speech against the persecuted minority Muslims in Myanmar via algorithms and failing to take down inflammatory posts.

Why it matters: Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been killed in Myanmar in what the United Nations deemed a genocidal campaign. Tens of thousands of others have been displaced, notably following a massacre by Myanmar's military in 2017.