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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump said Thursday during an expansive interview on "Fox & Friends" that he would overrule Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he tries to stop a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill in the Senate, a favorite project of Jared Kushner.

“There has to be a reform because it's very unfair right now. It's very unfair to African Americans. It's very unfair to everybody. And it's also very costly.”

Why it matters: In the past, Trump has been more hesitant on the topic — particularly regarding federal sentencing guidelines — thanks to tough-on-crime Republicans like Sessions and Sen. Tom Cotton. His latest remarks are a victory for Kushner, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Sen. Dick Durbin and other members of Congress who have worked to get the reform bill through the House to find compromise in the Senate.

Context: Trump is meeting with Kanye West to discuss prison reform later today. He has previously met with Kim Kardashian, West's wife, to discuss clemency and prison reform efforts and commuted Alice Johnson's sentence after Kardashian's advocacy.

What's next: Trump does not plan to openly push for the bill until after the midterms due to opposition from hardline conservatives like Cotton. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will bring the bill to the floor sometime after the midterms if it has more than 60 votes.

  • The bill would likely lower some mandatory minimum sentences, incentivize prison rehabilitation programs, provide sanitary products to women and send around 4,000 prisoners home.

Go deeper

48 mins ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.