tv Senators on Passage of First Step Act CSPAN December 22, 2018 10:02am-11:10am EST
passed a criminal justice reform bill, making more federal prisoners eligible for early release. dick durbin and amy talked about the bill and the effort to get it passed. this is just over an hour. host: our first guest is the whip, theocratic number two leader, working on this issue for 10 years, makes a 50 round trips a year between the swamp and the heartland. senator dick durbin from illinois, welcome back. [applause] >> senator dick durbin, thank you for joining us.
, van jones was pumping your hands, and he was saying, "unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable." what was it like? was there a sense of occasion? i never s: dreamed it would and so powerful . there were three amendments offered, which would have been weastated to the bill, and beat back the amendments by a , and thentwo to one came the final passage vote, and we had 87, as you have heard. lindsey graham, it would have been 88. that is right. number whenredible you consider this kind of issue, the depth of feeling on this issue. i think this was a historic
vote. of course, i have a personal interest in it, but i think we are now changing the national conversation when it comes to the issues involving the drug the issues of incarceration. the conversation is changing. >> and how do you hope the conversation is changing? i always preface my speeches that i'm about to say something you do not usually hear from a senator. let me tell you, this goes back to my house days, and it was the cocaine ratiock on sentencing, and at that time, we thought we were going to fight the war on drugs with muscle. if we were tough enough and meet enough and just said no, it was an off we would put an end to that. when you take a look at the vote in the house, there were a lot on the democratic side voting for this. remember, if you go back in of thehat was the era
famous maryland basketball player who died of an overdose, not from crack cocaine, but it came at that same moment, so there was hydrometer, tension, and fear that this new crack cocaine was going to be so cheap and so prolific and destroyed so many lives, we had better do something and do it, 100 to one. well, for the longest time, we thought we were winning, and we were losing. the war on drugs got worse, more drugs on the street, more people buying drugs, the price of drugs going down, and we were filling the prisons, primarily with african-americans, and there numbers that we could see in the bureau of prison every year, and then 10 years ago, i finally sat down and said, i have got to do something about that miserable vote. i am going to make it one to one, so we started the act. that ended up 18 to one, which is an improvement. so, senator dick durbin, van
jones was watching on c-span. he said he was watching like the super bowl, and he knows how to hurt a bears fan. backstage, he was cheering for your speech. forhe way, we thank c-span2 carrying it live, and he said you were better than tom brady. when they talk about senior aged quarterbacks, ok. but true brewski with the chicago bears is mine. y with the chicago bears is mine. in my world, this was the super bowl. you have this issue of this historic moment and the whole senate on the floor, and you know your fate is pinned to some votes, three votes on amendments that could turn the tide against you if you're not careful, and the first one comes through, and you win it 67-30 two.
not that i remember these numbers. you win it 67-32. and there was my partner in this effort, and cory booker and i were sitting in the first row, and he said, "we have got 18 republicans," which is more than anyone had come up with at that point. first quarter, and right on through p and we were piling up votes, eight teen, 17, 14 republicans, and i look at some of those voting with us, and i said i would not have guessed that that senator would have been in our corner, but they believed in our cause, and they and chuckaded by mike grassley. it is for all of the senators to be there. i can remember the war on terror during the bush years, and i remember senator hannity sitting there. like he sensed the history and
like seeing all of those senators there is rare. senator durbin: it is rare. i often stand up at lunch to the caucus members and say let me tell you what the united states used to be light. let me tell you, there was a time we would come to the floor and debate, and you had to think yourself, if i am going to vote against this amendment, can i get i side -- a side by side amendment question mark those of the days of the senate where you would come to the floor and offer an amendment in a moments notice. times, on ay moments notice, and i try to remember my call -- remind my colleagues that is what it was like and should be again. but you have to stick your neck out and be willing to take a tough vote. a lot of them get nervous. there is going to be a 30-second ad. it is going to happen, so do
some thing that is going to make a difference, and last night was one of those moments. milestones on the road, 10 years and six years, and you made a joke about the years in the senate. you are notin: if patient, do not run for the senate. i look back, and this has been a 10-year journey for me. i have a 17-year journey with the dream act. there was a bill i introduced years ago and still has not become law now, so the senate really will test your patience. if you need instant ratification, go to the house. [laughter] durbin: i love the house. always saysaxios about why it matters. tell us about alton. durbin: he had good
family, no serious problems, and then you could not find a job afterwards and ended up basically being a drug runner for a street gang, just a young kid, and he did for a number of years and he was arrested the first time, and they said, no criminal record. we will let you off of the whole. he was arrested a second time, they said be careful. third time, three strikes, he went before a judge, never spent one day in jail in his life, not one day, and the judge gave him a life sentence, a life sentence. it was from the sale of crack cocaine on the streets. but it was aombs, third strike, and he went to prison. fast 22 years, a woman, a great , an attorney in chicago, my angel with a beautiful name, she is as smart as could be, and she came to me and said he has been in jail for 22 years. you have got to help him, and i
asked president obama to the mute his sentence, which he did, and he is come out and is now a mechanic for the cta, repairing buses. he is married, going to city college. his life has turned around. he would have spent the rest of his life in prison if the president had not intervened because of the horrible sentencing standards we establish back with the 100 to one and beyond and three strikes, so that is an illustration of one life. there are many more just like him. >> another button that you touched. man.or durbin: oh, her brother came to testify before us. drugs tois, selling try to feed her children, and she ended up caught and whom i appointed to the venture at least nominated to the bench was the sentencing judge.
set i had no choice but to put you away for 25 years. decorated in those three children. i met her, i went up to greenville prison. know if i cant help you, but i can try. with thed at me soulful lies and she said if you get me out of here, i will never do anything wrong again, i promise you, but i just want to be there for my babies. president obama commuted her sentence and she came out and she lived with her brother because she had no means of support and you was fighting cancer at the same time. not very generous to her, but she got to see her daughter graduate from high school and through an anonymous benefactor and thank the lord for him, he gave her $10,000 so she could have a chance to have her own place to live, her own apartment with her girls and that lasted for two years before she passed away.
humanstories tell you the side of this political conversation. then have it endorsed by have vicetrump and president pence say we want to pass this bill for sure. you take a look at those who gathered behind this. they cover a lot of different territory here. you had the fraternal order of police, the leading prosecutors association in america, and the aclu, how about that? you put those altogether and say how could they ever agree?
once whename up to me we cosponsored an early version of the bill and he looked at me and he said, one of us has not read this bill. [laughter] we found someut common ground. is there another issue where you could find common ground? it is a relatively easy ask. this was a much tougher thing to do. jared kushner played a key role in this. i thanked him. about this because his family experience. the first time i ever met him, he told me about his dad and visiting his father in prison and how he wanted to change the prison experience in america. he did more to lineup republicans and the right on this issue than anyone else and he deserves credit for it. though i may disagree with his father-in-law from time to time,
as you noticed, i want to give credit where it is due. >> when you called jared kushner last night, what did he say? sen. durbin: he was relieved and happy and thanked me for making a few concessions along the way. way you keep this moving is to bargain uncompromised back and forth. some people attribute this to dirty backroom dealing. it is a question of respect you have to give from one side to the other. criminal sentencing still makes a dramatic change. mandatory minimums, which is what we were setting up to do. it is a breakthrough. wewere talking last night are finally giving judges discretion. they cannot be handcuffed in terms of sentencing. >> on whether this could be a
template, i feel it this was a no? sen. durbin: it can be on the right issue, but you have to associate the issue with senators to bring passion to the issue. that is an important part of it. if an individual senator has a personal stake in it, if it is something important to them, i've had a congressional career fighting tobacco. my father died of lung cancer when i was 14 years old. two packs a day. tobacco was always that element that took away my dad and those battles, whenever i would get into them, i said, i will keep going. that is how i felt about criminal sentencing. this was a gut issue that talked about justice in america and whether we were going to get it right. >> senator, we are getting the penultimate question. are we getting a shutdown? sen. durbin: i don't think so. yesterday, the conversation changed about short-term continuing resolutions and weather it there are other sources of money.
president's statement last week about i'm proud to shut the government down, a lot of republicans said, that is a bad idea. you think he caved? do think they muscled him behind the scenes? what was the lever that changed that? sen. durbin: you are asking me to analyze the president's thinking and i'm not going to do that. forces ine political his own party realized to the devastation of a shutdown. it does not make america any safer. i think they persuaded the white house to move in a different direction. we endeavor our events with one fun thing. you and i share a quirk. sen. durbin: what would that be? >> you like to give people books mysteriously. sen. durbin: i love books.
when i was a kid going to clerk atn i was a discount books. i was buying all these books. i just had a passion for it. book clubsate little with susan collins. we exchange books. i got a great book, the empire of the summer moon. ,e ended up reading the book loving it, making it a christmas gift to every republican senator. i keep looking. >> what is another book you would like to give and what might show up on the desk of one of your staff members? sen. durbin: todd young was my secret santa and "goodbye darkness," which it think is the best book about the marines in
world war ii i've ever read, i give it to him and i said i would love it -- he would love it. senator durbin, thank you. [applause] our next guest is someone i have been interviewing about this issue for many years, even a couple of jobs, he is the senior vice president and general counsel of coke industries, he is coo of the legal division of koch public-sector and a one-time long champion of welcome to ask es. when and where were you a jail guard. >> that was the best job i ever had until it went to law school. i was a prison guard in in myter, massachusetts
freshman and sophomore years of college at umass. it was a very eye-opening experience in many ways. there were a number of people i grew up with who i lost track of the junior high and high school the were incarcerated. we are talking about the war on drugs was ramping up even more. i was a knucklehead. i got lucky that i had parents who kept me in line. as a knucklehead, when i worked in the prison, it did not make sense what we were doing even then. he did not have a job once he got out. how does this make us better? it didn't. it continued on.
>> you have an article from donor wall that we worked on together called "the over criminalization of america." what you mean by that? what senator ben -- durbin was talking about, how we use the criminal justice system to solve whatever issues we think there are. , knucklehead kids making bad decisions when they were young. we have a situation where we don't know how many criminal laws we have at the federal level. thee are an estimated federal regulatory code.
out because coming the opposition kept coming out. is that they decided to use the criminal system more than regulatory fines, civil fines, we overuse the criminal system, the criminal code and we have created much more of a problem at the state and federal level. trucks keep winning. you are fighting an inanimate object and that is not really the issue. laws, tootoo many many people incarcerated for too long a time that they should not be incorporated four. >> you said something that imprisonment does not always enhance public safety. doesn't.
it enhances public safety for the one person you are incarcerating, but this whole idea of what senator durbin was just talking about, there is no science or data behind that. it was back in the tough on crime era. it started in the 1970's and 1980's with the forced mandatory minimums with bush and the whole willie horton thing, which was horrific. we went to the clayton crime bill, which was terrific as well. incarcerating people does not get you anywhere. prison ile who are in saw firsthand and i still see it today when a visitor prisons and i work with a lot of former incarcerated people, with the really need is a chance. most of the people in prison in our country come from really desperate situations. -- it does not excuse anything they have done. but more punishment does not work. encourage anyone, if
you're going to make a punitive criminal law, you need to go to a prison first and meet people and talk to them and see them and you are going to see that punishment does not do the trick. it is going to be rehabilitation and try to help people feel and redemption. that is not a touchy-feely it let us to this point. it is not all about punishment all the time. it is not going to get us where we need to get. >> a headline on mpr. koch-backed criminal justice reform to reach the senate. >> charles and david coke have been very focused on these funders.he early the war on drugs has been a
failure. there are a lot of people in the war on drugs who don't need to be incarcerated so long. we have been very much in favor of proportional sentencing. punishment must fit the crime. you break the law, you should pay a price. you pay that price, you should be welcomed back into society with all of your rights. all of your rights come back, that is why we supported amendment 4 in florida, voting restoration rights for people with felonies in florida. we don't think it makes sense for people not to be able to participate once they have paid their debt to society. this is all about breaking barriers to opportunity. this is about beyond the criminal justice system issue. any of our social advocacy that was seen over the past several centuries, whether it was the abolitionists, whether it was universal suffrage, whether it
was civil rights movement or , it is theuality only way that can be cured and fixed. we saw that last night. we saw that in march. 87-12, that is a curb stomping. what we are seeing is that there is a change now. this is a movement. a credit to all the intellectual -- officials to get it to this point. the first step is a big step. hopefully goes through the house and the president will sign it. >> jim jordan has a question for you. the kochledge that
family organization will refrain from attacking those of voted for the first step back? can you pledge that the kch family organizations will refrain from attacking any democrat who voted with the first step back? applauding everyone who supported the first step back. we are going to do it in the senate. , at leastttack people i don't think we do. i guess that is the beauty is in the eye of the beholder or whatever, but we don't typically attack on the we go after issues and policies that we think are important. think will make societies better and worse. criminal justice reform, we want everybody involved. i want 100-0. >> what is the time went for the
second step back and what will be the substance? >> i'm ready for right now if that matters. it will probably take a while. there is so much. if you want to get right down to it, we need prosecutorial reform. to change the sentencing laws act. we should go back to this novel idea in the constitution that judges get to make those decisions. we need to continue with the sentencing laws and have prosecutors and prosecutors do a great job, i'm not meaning to trash them, but they have too much power. we need to get it back to the judge. that is one part of it. sixth amendment, that is a huge issue. states it does not work well. a constitutional right to have a lawyer, that is violated every day across the country.
at asseto look forfeiture. it is unconstitutional and puts law enforcement at risk, having them do these types of things. >> how does asset forfeiture but law enforcement at risk? >> the whole idea is that they are pulling people over and taking their property without an arrest, sometimes nothing happens. they take their property or could be with an arrest. it makes people upset. we have seen a lot of that. i'm a huge supporter of law enforcement. i've got family in law enforcement and friends in law enforcement. they want to be in the community keeping safe with got to fix the bail system. look at the eighth amendment. it says bayless allowed, but we aware of excessive bail.
it is not an endorsement, it is a warning. that is with the cash bail system is. if you are not a threat to public safety or a threat to flee, you should be let free until your case is heard. those are some of the things we need to do more on. we need to do more on the entry reform. we need to take away barriers to reentry. voting, housing, jobs. i'm proud to work for coke industries. --och -- koch industries. >> as we say goodbye, i'd like to ask you about two white house aides. one former, one current. you talk about a bridge builder. tell us about the role of valerie jarrett and jared kushner. >> they have both been pivotal. it is kind of ironic. last night, i was coming home at a bumped into valerie.
i had not seen her in months. we stopped and hugged each other. >> you hugged each other? >> we are good friends. i like her. looks like this is going to get done. i said, thank you for making it possible. making a you are possible. i said, we are making it possible and you are standing on the shoulders of what you built during the obama administration. jared kushner i'm a big fan of. he did a phenomenal job. the president gets a lot of credit for making these decisions and coming along on the whole issues with the sentencing reform after he was grass after he gave alice johnson clemency. he understood how the sentences were way out of whack. jared kushner and the president of the reason why we are here. he worked with everybody, very thoughtful, very analytical, good guy. can't say enough about him. this has been a total team
effort across the board and we .re proud to play a role in it in overtime here. you are part of a white house roundtable on this issue. what was it like to be in the white house on this? yes, this was back in january when the first step back in the house was going and that would be the vehicle we would look at for prison reform. brooke rollins was there. one of the things that i thought , he got focused on the jobs issue because he was a businessman. the whole idea that it is impossible and the unfairness really stuck with him. he made a comment to the people in press prison
. i remember seeing a lot of scripts from his speeches on it is. since then, he has a sense of injustice and wants to fix it. that meeting in january was pivotal. >> the president was ad-libbing? >> crazy. [laughter] >> thank you for joining actio's. -- axios. [applause] our next guest is the president and founder of a bipartisan effort to reform the criminal justice system and host of the van jones show on cnn, a little bit of a spoiler.
he has founded six groups aimed at social and environmental justice and has been immersed for years in today's topic. van jones, welcome. [applause] thank you very much. you said you were watching c-span like it was the super bowl. tell us about last night for you. i could not stop laughing, i could not stop crying. 1993.out of law school in i started working on criminal justice police reform that when both political parties were in favor of mass incarceration. i was having to fight democrats and republicans. , californiasenators
built 20 prisons and only one university through the 1990's. it was unbelievable. was a christmas miracle. that is what that was. pac, no highly paid lobbyist, no carefully bought google ads and big bulletin boards, it was just people who tired ofmn, who were it. jared kushner fought this hard because his father went to prison. fought this hard because her first husband went to prison. lewis read fought this hard because they went to prison. american conservative union fought this hard because he himself had been to prison. it was people the you cannot have paid them to work as hard as they did. it was personal.
it was intimate. it was people walking the halls who were just too dumb to know that we were dead. they killed us 20 times, but we were too dumb to know we were dead and we won. called colleagues at cnn it the bill that would not die, but it could have. >> and not only could have, it did. they said trump will never support this so you are dead. then trump gives a speech in favor of it. they said, it doesn't matter. you are going into the house. hakeem jeffries. collins going to the house with opposedprison reform, by the aclu, opposed by the naacp, opposed by, let harris, by cory booker, by the ,ashington post, by john lewis the entire liberal establishment tried to stop us in the house,
saying the bill did not go far enough to read you are dead, don't even show up. 360-59 withe house 100% of democratic leadership voting for us, 70% of the democratic caucus and people could he crap, how do that? we had real people who were passionate. then you get to the senate. you're going to get sentencing reform, signoff on law enforcement regroups, that will never happen. every time they said it would never happen, we made it happen. you,mcconnell says, screw i don't care how hard you work, we are not going to give you a vote until the lame-duck and you've got to have 60 votes. how are you going to do that? we go, we get 70 votes, go to mcconnell, my says, i'm still going to give you a vote. >> what changed his mind? >> i think he was very concerned about my opinion of him. [laughter]
and i think that was the big difference maker. no. i'm going to say something. you know what made the difference? saidd j. trump finally enough is enough. jared kushner had been out there bleeding for this, bleeding for this and others. we had 70-plus according to our own count and mitch mcconnell is saying, he's not going to give us a vote. it was the clash of the titans. his mitch mcconnell going to be able to lie to the president's face, to lie to the president's senior advisor's and say he is going to do something and not do it? we took every objection that mcconnell had off the table, we did not insult him personally at all. the white house didn't, i did. then it came down to it. donald j. trump made very clear
that the next set of tweets was going to be for mitch mcconnell and that among other things helped mitch mcconnell see the light. the power of this movement, you want to know how powerful is mitch mcconnell had to vote for this bill. at the end of the day, he had to throw tom cotton under the bus and vote for a bill. this is history. this is the 1959 civil rights act. everybody goes 1964. those are the big ones. it was 1959 where they had a little one, but it broke the logjam and it showed you could be for civil rights and not be
called a communist, you could be for civil rights and not lose your seat, and it laid the groundwork. a few years later, we got the big ones done. this was that little one that is going to help the big ones get done. what a little one. they say that 50,000 fewer people will be locked up in the , theal system congressional budget office says we're going to go to 130,000 over a ten-year period because of this one so called little bill. 100% of people locked up are going to be able to come home earlier if they stay out of trouble. 100% of the women no longer shackled when they are pregnant and having a baby. 100% of the juveniles never getting solitary confinement in the federal system. half of the people locked up and take classes, get job ready, and come home even sooner. 100% of the people who are sitting there under those willted crack cocaine laws
be retroactively brought home. a couple thousand people. this is a tiny step, but it is also a giant leap because for the first time you had both parties holding hands, saying, we've got to do something for people at the bottom who don't have anything. even vote for us, they can't give us a donation, but we've got to do some thing for them anyway. this is a huge moment. the cynicism in this town, that something this great could topen, and everybody wants talk about russia and everything else, and nobody can focus on this because when you have a real miracle, you have to see it to believe it and believe it to be able to see it. you've got to believe it to be able to see it. can something good happen in trumps d.c.? can ordinary people fight hard and win? and broken hearted
people in the republican party and the democratic party work something goode happen? if you don't believe it is possible, this thing will pass you by, but if you believe in the most beautiful thing possible just happened. i hope people can see that. [applause] i hope people can celebrate that. what is the centerpiece of your second step back? >> sleep. [laughter] that will be the centerpiece. sleep. i'm a little punchy because i haven't had any sleep. >> you are on cnn, twitter. >> cnn last night. and happy to be here with you. we are hoping this entire adventure fails because axios is scaring the heck out of the entire media industry and i just came over to spy on you. [laughter] whatever.
that said. there is so much more to be done. you've got asset forfeiture were cops can just a rest and take your stuff if you have not been convicted of anything. you have this cash bail .ituation you have a lot of sentencing reform that needs to happen. we've got to let judges judge again. we've got people sitting in ,rison for marijuana crimes they've got marijuana dispensaries on every corner in the states they did the crime in. we are sending people home bitter and not better. the want to do great do great despite the system and not because of it. person inot a single the country who can defend the system, except for tom cotton, who is going to be apparently wearing full lower suits with bell bottom pants because he is so out of date.
have a second act, a third act, eventually we will have a last.fm and we are going to save you make a mistake, we are going to rush to help you. we know what to do with folks who get in trouble with drugs. i went to yale law school. i some more kids doing drugs that yale than i ever saw do drugs in housing projects. when those kids got in trouble, no one said, i know, give that sophomore at yale 15 years in prison and she will be much better off. they said, give that can rehab, but that kid withdraw quietly and come back next semester. we know what to do with kids when they get in trouble because we do with rich folks' kids. the last of will be when we treat poor folks' kids the same way we treat rich folks' kids. we know how to do that. twin goals, tell us about that. >> we want to cut crime and
incarceration in half in the next 10 years. you say that sounds utopian. it is not utopian. you know who's on the way to doing that? georgia, texas, mississippi. putting into place these new laws, these new programs where when people are in your custody and your care, you are focused on getting them job ready and transform so when they league -- leave, they come back. to closing the revolving door. we have 25% of the world's people locked up. only 4% of the worlds population because we have been that stupid for 30 years. both parties, it took oath parties to get us in this ditch and it is going to take both to get us out. everybody said, don't give donald trump's victory. first of all, we did not give donald trump's victory, we get 200,000 people locked up a victory and their families a victory. second of all, do you want donald trump to be a champion
and an advocate of prison reform and criminal justice reform? or do you want him to be a adversary? are you telling me democrats you want donald trump to run against you on this issue in 2020? you on both parties to embrace it? 2008, mccain and obama both embraced climate change, climate solutions. they were both climate hawks. the country was better and stronger for it. i believe in 2020, both parties can and should embrace criminal justice not as a battleground, but is common ground. >> penultimate question. you have said retweets do not count as votes. >> they don't. my liberal friends are also mad about 2016. they don't fool me. yes russians and comey, whatever. we did not work hard in 2016. i remember 2008, we were charred in 2008.
people not on doors, went to swing states. 2016, we expected trump to beat himself, and when he didn't, we started to have to go to therapy and people are still in therapy. we have saying is proved in 2018 when we worked hard, we can win. i want to make sure that we don't mistake retweets for votes . it is hard to get people to vote, but we did in 2008 and we will in 2020. >> what is the parallel between the van jones show and sesame street? >> thank you for mentioning my cnn show. [laughter] saturdays at 7:00. [laughter] look, my show is sesame street for grown people. my believe is with young people, we use television pretty well. when we tried. we try to give young people education and also inspiration. we want them to know about the world and we want to feel good about going out into that world. with grown people, we do the
opposite. we educate them to alarm them, scare them, to make them feel less powerful. we have meaningful conversations without the means stuff on the van jones show. >> the most recent show you had people send in video selfies. >> it is amazing. in the old days, you have to go out in the street in the cameras. i'm too lazy for that. say, sayhas something it. some people send in the celfin by smart and good as anybody on the are you had to have him on the show. >> thank you and happy holidays. joinings, thank you for us. we are going to see a quick video and i will be right back.
>> we have the power to make a difference right now. >> we have the power to make sure everybody has clean water. >> to rid the world of age once and for all. capital and befriends entrepreneurs? we stand behind all of our partners to make a difference. >> thank you very much and thank you to the bank of america batting cleanup, a grand finale guest as a senator known for being effective, working across the aisle. she headed the largest office in minnesota. senator amy klobuchar, welcome to ask es. [applause] sen. klobuchar: all right. much.nk you so you were just telling me you are missing the weekly prayer breakfast. sen. klobuchar: you have to call
me out in front of everyone? >> this is your penance. sen. klobuchar: they are singing christmas carols today. that's ok. >> tell us what the senate prayer breakfast is like. sen. klobuchar: that is a good question because it plays into the discussions that you had. there is a course in the national prayer breakfast. there is the weekly one where it aboutt senators and it is half democrats, half republicans. usually about 20-25 people. someone comes to tell something from their life it is not always a religious story. it is one of those rare moments where people can open up and talk about things in their life. it is a good way to make friends. some people play critical roles. just because i think there is also a religious piece of this were people sit back and then look at the criminal justice
system and they say, is this really right? is this consistent with faith-based looks at the world? then the second p7 economic piece of it, is this right for our economy? i think that brought some of the republicans into the fold. then the final piece which van jones expressed so well, which is justice and what is justice and with the criminal justice system was working for some people was not justice. >> the conversations today, it was clear there was a real sense of history and a sense of occasion on the senate laura last night. tell us what that was like. sen. klobuchar: we have not had a lot of joyous moments in the senate this year. big surprise news item i gave you. was one of those because i think for one thing we are coming to the end of the year. we were able to get some really important things done. the farm bill, the sex harassment bill that i lead with sender blunt that had been really difficult to negotiate
for the last year. the budget which i helped to get done. this was something that has been explained was five years in the making that took the blood of their comfort zone. it took people on both sides that never thought they would be drugng about reducing sentences. in that way, it was this christmas miracle that people came together. the second piece of it was just that we knew there were these bad amendments that you have heard about. some of them we felt were designed to put us in a bad place only because politically the bill protected us from a lot of the things that were in the amendments. so what was the best part of the night for me was that it was not democrats fighting against tom cotton and these amendments. in hischuck grassley festive red holiday sweater who went up there with that iowa
accent sent me a i can understand being from minnesota and was able to really effectively fight them down. the second thing was the final vote. we don't get that many votes for volleyball resolutions. that we had that strong of support for the reform was also really exciting. there was just a feeling in the chamber that we have had in the past, but we have not had for a long time and i hope it not only paves the way for additional reforms in the criminal justice system, but my hope is that we can recapture that again with some of the hard things we have to do next year. dids a former prosecutor, your mind change, is your heart changed about these issues or did you recognize some of these flaws and weaknesses even as you are essentially a part of it? sen. klobuchar: i come from minnesota, which is known fondly as not just the land of 10,000 lakes, but the land of 10,000 treatment centers. a are very proud of having
lot of the foremost treatment centers in the country. we have always viewed criminal justice and a bit more progressive way in terms of the results. iowa's set as a prosecutor that we wanted to be like a business, we want to be efficient. we want to show results. we did not want to be a business in a very important way, we did not want to see repeat customers and our doors. the way you guarantee you don't have repeat customers if you give people the tools to get their act together with a get out. mica is problem most of my life growing up. he had three dwis. it was only the third one when the laws changed that he was forced to go to treatment or he was going to go to jail. het changed his life and might have an older when that happened. it was the right got married, but it actually changed everything.
his own words, he was pursued by grace. i think other people should have that same right. we have so many people in the criminal justice system whose crimes were committed because they were on drugs that contributed to the vet decisions were that they were addicted on drugs, they were feeding their at it. this idea that those people are denied that same right that my dad had after a lot of mistakes in his life just never made sense to me. that is why when i came into this is a former prosecutor, we try to be as fair as we got, i knew there were problems in the federal sentence things. i knew we had seen success in minnesota by taking a different approach. >> to put criminal justice reform rock contact will wrap reform in a different context, you mentioned the anti-sexual-harassment bill. wereklobuchar: there
differences in the house and the senate. it is hard to tackle in an election year. the two ofnt about us got together, started working with the house. editor mcconnell and senator schumer on our side, as well as ryan and pelosi were very supportive of getting it done. we came up with a bill that is designed to protect politicians instead of the victims of harassment. we got rid of the cooling-off period and the counseling period things that you really did not see in a lot of corporate policies or other policies across the country. we got rid of those. then we also made individual members accountable. thing is more transparency. that was a big change and a lot
of it was what was going on in .he me too movement don't we have to clean up our mess and start fresh? >> what is the biggest provision that should have been in there? sen. klobuchar: i think from some of the earlier bills that had a more investigative provisions. we have an advocate has to be a lawyer. the house may be adding investigative resources on their side and they would tell you that is one of the things. >> in the new congress with the house controlled by democrats, can you imagine transparency around settlement payments? what can you imagine being added in the new congress? sen. klobuchar: there will be transparency.
house, theyto the will be doing more on the investigative front. maybe they are doing more on transparency, but the rules bilby witten -- written by the house and senate. we don't want to do that to them. we have to figure out how we best get that transparency without putting it out in a way that identifies the that person is. >> we have talked about your efforts run political advertising transparent. your honest ads act and some of the disclosures just this week. sen. klobuchar: that is timely. i'm hoping this will put the momentum on our side. when you look at two things this week, one with the intelligence committee report that was so about all of the early massive effort by the russians that was not just about some ads in one campaign, it was massive, it kept going.
it was on instagram, it was on facebook, it was on twitter. the second revelation was the new york times report in today. about how facebook is sharing her data, people right here in this room, your data coming your personal back and forth on your page with other companies. the companies were not paying for them, so that is of the got out of claiming that it was paid for. it was hoping the profit and build a business model. that is a potential violation of the sct consent decree. i hope this all comes together in feeding action this year. that is what our bill is. the bill that i lead with senator mccain, who we miss so much. the second will be privacy
legislation. senator kennedy and i have a bill that basically says 72 hours, you have to have notice of a breach. you can opt out of having your data shared at all. i think it would have resolved some of this. there still sharing your data with companies that you did not know have it. you want to have netflix of all of your personal correspondence? it is pretty outrageous. you talked about this before, you are dissatisfied about facebook's level of cooperation. to what degree has been improved? sen. klobuchar: i think that the moment and the reckoning is going to be have a handle this what isstigation with going on and the penalties paid. i think the second is going to be changes to platforms to protect people's data.
i was reading an article on it but a tweet out about a quote that these companies are no isger bystanders and long-lasting and never-ending cyber warfare we are going to be in the middle of, so they have to make changes. the final thing is going to be stop resisting commonsense legislation. come on. you are not going to agree to legislation which they now have not goingar? you are to agree to legislation that says you have to post ads and put disclaimers on them when tv is doing it are you are not going to agree to legislation that has common sense and privacy mandates and it. they can't pretend they are not part of this, they are not bystanders. they made money off it. >> it sound you remain quite dissatisfied. sen. klobuchar: doesn't sound like that? [laughter] sen. klobuchar: i guess so. this has gotten to the point where we are doing such a
disservice to the citizens of this country if we allow this to continue. private companies, but they have gotten into an area where they clearly did not know how to handle it themselves and there is going to be more of this in the future and rules will at least help to set some standards. >> what is the outlook for the secure elections act? sen. klobuchar: that is the final piece of legislation that langford and i are doing that requires backup paper ballots. to make sure that we also have audits. again, more transparency and this is for election equipment, which when you look at that massive effort that went on from russia, you know they are going to try this again in 202321 states were attempted to be hacked into. i think we are in a better place with this information that is coming out. does that roy blunt's support. the markup was canceled. senator mcconnell has issues. there are a few secretaries of state that has issues. the white house was making calls.
i'm hoping we can overcome all of those obstacles. success islly getting through those obstacles and i think we can do it. >> there are three or four democrats thinking about running for president. sen. klobuchar: are you putting his zero after those numbers? [laughter] >> one of the lists had like 36. sen. klobuchar: ok. i don't think we will end up with that. >> you are always up on those shortlists and the associated press code-1 of the younger set of the 2020. headline was saying democrats face a tough 2020 choice. inspiration versus pragmatism. where do you party headed? sen. klobuchar: i don't think you can put those into neat boxes and i don't blame people for doing an analysis. i think you have to allow people to get out there and make their cases. make their cases to the people, have competition, have voices from all parts of the country.
in of major mistakes made 2016that did not happen in was people that just kind of set, we are going to focus on these areas of the country. i've always believed you go not just where it is comfortable, but where it is uncomfortable. people are going to want to win. to have going to want candidates that do inspire, but that also are going to be able to show how they take on donald trump. i've always believed that the answer is not just going down the rabbit hole everywhere he goes, but the answer is having your own optimistic economic agenda while still being willing to find common ground, that is a you get to higher ground. make sure that you make the case that there is a vast difference between the america that he is running now and what he is representing when teachers tell me they don't even know if they can have their kids listen to what the president has -- says
because of the kinds of things he is saying and what he is putting out on twitter, you want to have someone in the white house that parents can tell their kids, this is our president, watch him. that is not is happening right now in america. >> what will it take for you to take the plunge? sen. klobuchar: i will make that decision over the next few weeks. i've got to talk to my family. when i ran for the senate last time, my husband found out i was considering it on the radio. i'm not going to repeat that mistake. >> when you come back again, we will know? sen. klobuchar: i'm not giving you a deadline. [laughter] sen. klobuchar: but i do like your socks and your type. [laughter] sen. klobuchar: that is not a diversion at all. [laughter] sen. klobuchar: your socks are. [laughter] >> axios has reported that there are two states the trump team is looking at possible pickups in 2020, states they lost before that they could win this time. one is colorado, the other time
as a place for president trump came close, minnesota. how worried are you? sen. klobuchar: that is interesting because it is true that donald trump almost won minnesota. it was about 1.5 points. secretary clinton actually got less percent of the votes than she did in four states she lost, which included wisconsin and florida, pennsylvania, i may be one off. the reason was that more minnesotans voted independent. we were going into 2018 with that and not that far away in our rearview mirror. one of our goals was to bring the whole state together. i've always gone strong in go into rural areas and suburban areas of our state. i was leading the ticket. i think a lot of people predicted we were not going to win every seat and michael, i had a feeling i was going to win, of my goal was to make sure that we won for the rest of the ticket and we won every single
statewide office and i think i ,on 42 counties that he had won but who is counting? so, i think we came roaring back basically in minnesota and took congressional seats that had been held by republicans and flipped the state house that had been republican. so, that is a big success story which i think makes it a little harder for that claim to be implemented. >> so, you are not worried? you are not worried? sen. klobuchar: i'm not worried. the word where he did not -- i'm just used to chuck grassley's iowa accident from yesterday -- accent from yesterday. i'm feeling good about our state. there is a lot of racist anti-immigrant state -- dads run in our state. one minnesota. nt onittle punctuation poi
that was plaid shirts and jackets. even in september when it was warm. part of that message is winging everyone. we are not leaving rural voters behind, we're not leaving anyone behind. >> as we say goodbye, if you run, willow president trump's nickname for you be? sen. klobuchar: i don't know, he will have to make that decision. i think we're done with name-calling. it is a little better to go forward in a positive way. i don't like calling people's names. >> good luck with that. thank you for this fascinating year of conversation. thank you to c-span for carrying this live. thank you to cnn and c-span for their coverage. thank you to my colleagues and our 146 colleagues for a year that has been beyond their wildest dreams. sen. klobuchar: why is it beyond your wildest dreams? >> because we have an unbelievable axios audience and colleagues who have made this an
amazing year. teams andate the thank you for a year to remember and thank you senator klobuchar for a great conversation. merry christmas, happy holidays. sen. klobuchar: thank you. >> until 2019, on axios.com. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. >> after the senate vote to pass the first step back, several sponsors talked about criminal justice reform at a capitol hill news conference. it begins with judiciary committee chair chuck grassley. this is 35 minutes.