A Strong America

Jared Kushner on Prison Reform: The Bill ‘Will Accomplish a Lot to Make Our Communities Safer’

President's senior adviser spoke on 'Hannity' of First Step Act

President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, sat down with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night for an exclusive interview on “Hannity.”

“We have a lot of phenomenal people in the White House and the administration who show up to work every day, ignoring the noise that’s out there and just focusing on, how do we accomplish the objectives of the president,” said Kushner on how he continues to do his job effectively in the face of overwhelmingly negative and sometimes outright false media coverage.

Those objectives, he explained, include making the country more prosperous, increasing wages for people, creating more jobs and keeping people safe.

Kushner, 37 and the president’s son-in-law, also addressed the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act, or the First Step Act, a bill he helped design.

“This bill will accomplish a lot to make our communities safer,” Kushner told Hannity, adding that doing nothing about the currently very high rates of recidivism is irresponsible and that the “data-driven” act is modeled on red-state programs known to be effective.

Kushner praised the president’s leadership in forming a broad and bipartisan coalition that supports the bill.

The bill, he said, will include “giving job training, vocational training, mentorship … mental health treatment [and] drug addiction treatment to people who are coming out, who are nonviolent offenders and figuring out how when they leave prison they have a better chance of getting a job and re-entering society in a productive manner [rather] than going back to a life of crime.”

Kushner said he is hoping the passage of the bill will bring a “big bipartisan celebration before Christmas.”

Among the aims of the criminal justice reform initiative are improving rehabilitation efforts and reducing the prison sentences for those who committed certain nonviolent drug crimes.

He noted that the fiscally responsible bill will allow money currently spent “warehousing people who we don’t need to be warehousing” to instead be invested in “law enforcement on the front lines to keep our communities safe.”

Among the aims of the criminal justice reform initiative are improving rehabilitation efforts and reducing the prison sentences for those who committed certain nonviolent drug crimes.

Kushner can count Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) among his First Step Act allies.

Paul is pressuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the bill to a vote, the Washington Examiner reported today.

In a tweet last week, President Trump also encouraged McConnell to bring the bipartisan bill to a vote, noting that it will “help a lot of people, save taxpayer dollars, and keep our communities safe.”

Kushner skirted Hannity’s questions about whether his efforts in the Middle East have been hurt as a result of the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national, instead moving on to matters in the broader region.

Kushner said he is focused on “figuring out how to hopefully bring a deal together between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“The president’s been very focused on trying to bring all the different parties together and we’re hopeful, in the next couple of months [that] we’ll put out our plan, which again, not every side is going to love, but there’s enough in it and enough reasons why people should take it and move forward. And this plan will keep the Israeli people safe, give them a good future, but also give a real opportunity and hope for the Palestinian people, so that they can live much better lives,” said Kushner.

“And it’s not just the Israelis that want it; it’s not just the Palestinian people who want it — it’s all the people I speak to throughout the entire Middle East who’d like to see this issue resolved, so that they can start focusing on a brighter future,” he added.

The Middle East, of course, includes the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A piece in Saturday’s New York Times headlined “The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House,” citing unnamed “former White House officials” and “two others briefed by the Saudi royal court,” gave a sinister interpretation of the nature and timing of Kushner’s contacts with Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The Times called Kushner the prince’s “most important defender inside the White House,” adding that the pair’s “singular bond … helped draw President Trump into an embrace of Saudi Arabia as one of his most important allies.”

If the Trump administration, along with Kushner’s help, is able to broker a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, that phenomenal bit of diplomacy would potentially position  Trump as the most consequential foreign policy president in history.

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Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.