Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday that it would be an "uphill battle" to get the Trump administration on board with criminal justice reform.
In a press call with reporters about his latest legislation, the Justice Safety Valve Act, the Kentucky Republican said despite the lack of "sympathy" for criminal justice reform in President Trump's White House, he is "having conversations with people" in the administration who are willing to listen to what he has to say.
The Justice Safety Valve Act, introduced by Paul, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., would give federal judges the ability to impose sentences below mandatory minimums in appropriate cases, based on mitigating factors.
Similar legislation was introduced in the House this week.
The legislation goes against Attorney General Jeff Sessions' latest sentencing and charging memo. In that memo from last week, Sessions directed federal prosecutors to pursue the strictest charges and sentences in criminal cases.
"It's sending us in the wrong direction," Paul said of the memo. He added that he doesn't "particularly think the attorney general is sympathetic" of criminal justice reform.