Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Trump speaks at Police Chiefs Convention. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Legislation designed to reduce federal prison sentences for some non-violent crimes and to help prisoners prepare for freedom is inching its way toward the Senate floor. And it just got a big boost from an unlikely ally: rank-and-file police.

What's happening: The Fraternal Order of Police — the largest law enforcement labor organization in the U.S. — announced Friday its support of a bipartisan Senate criminal justice reform bill, which would lower certain mandatory sentences, incentivize prison rehabilitation programs, provide sanitary products to women and potentially release around 4,000 people.

Why it matters: Part of the challenge for reform advocates like Jared Kushner has been persuading hard-liners such as Sen. Tom Cotton and President Trump that the bill could win the support of law enforcement and wouldn’t undermine public safety, a person familiar with the negotiations tells Axios. FOP's endorsement clears a significant hurdle.

Another advantage: Jeff Sessions was arguably the administration’s single-most effective opponent of this kind of legislation. His departure means reformers have one less barrier.

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would have a whip count on the bill after the midterm elections and has indicated he would bring it to the floor if can get more than 60 votes. Republicans close to leadership believe criminal justice reform could pass the Senate during the lame duck, but this is far from certain and hard-liners like Cotton will be difficult if not impossible to win over.

  • Trump has previously expressed openness to the Senate's approach. But he has also expressed concerns the bill could anger his base, as he ran as the tough-on-crime candidate, according to one person familiar with negotiations.
  • Kushner and his allies have been arguing that these prisoners will be released anyway, so they should have the best chance to get jobs and build new lives after their incarceration.

Criminal justice reform is one of only a few policy issues that can win broad bipartisan support. A narrower version of the bill focused on rehabilitation and re-entry programs passed the House 360-59 in May.

  • Since then, four provisions addressing harsh federal sentencing guidelines have been added during Senate negotiations at the insistence of Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, Senate Democrats and others — though the final language of this version of the bill has not yet been released. Including those changes makes it less likely some hard-line conservatives will get on board.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.