HC Wake-Up Call: Senate Passes Historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill, Trump Foundation Shuts Down, & Michael Flynn's Sentencing Postponed

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds — we’re all only human, after all. 

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.) 

The Senate Finally Passes A Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Bill

The Senate voted 87 to 12 on Tuesday night to pass a package of bipartisan criminal justice reforms, according to The New York Times. 

Major reforms in The First Step Act include lessening prison sentences for repeat and first-time non-violent offenders, expanding job training and other programming to reduce repeat offenses, and expanding access early releases. 

The measure is meant to reduce the number of people in the U.S. prison system, which is the largest in the world, according to the Huffington Post. The bill would allow judges more freedom in sentencing non-violent, specifically drug related, offenses. It would also bolster rehabilitation programs for previous prisoners.

According to USA Today, Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and John Kennedy of Louisiana proposed amendments, requiring the Bureau of Prisons to notify victims of a prisoner's release. It also would have required the bureau to track previous offenders once released. The amendments were shut down by the Senate.  

The bill will now go through the House, where it is expected to easily pass. President Trump has confirmed his support for the reform bill, and said he would sign it. 

The Trump Foundation Shuts Down Amid Allegations 

The Donald J. Trump Foundation agreed to shut down on Tuesday amid an ongoing lawsuit filed by the New York state attorney general. According to CNN, Trump’s foundation will also have to give away any leftover assets under court supervision.

The lawsuit, which the attorney general Barbara Underwood filed in June, accused Trump’s foundation of “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” The New York Times reports. Underwood also alleged that the foundation engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality.” 

The New York attorney general also seeks financial restitution of $2.8 million with additional penalties, CNN reports. In addition, Trump might be barred from serving in New York nonprofit organizations for 10 years. The lawsuit also asks for a one-year ban on all three of Trump’s children, all of whom served as board members for the foundation. 

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Underwood said, according to the Washington Post

Judge Postpones Former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn’s, Sentencing

A federal judge on Tuesday expressed “disgust” with former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, but allowed him to delay his sentencing, according to The New York Times. In Flynn’s request, he asked the federal judge to postpone his sentencing until his cooperation with Mueller's investigation was finished

Flynn pleaded guilty a year ago to lying to the FBI about conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to the Washington Post, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan told Flynn that he “sold out” his country, and that the delay would not necessarily stop him from serving jail time.

Sullivan did offer Flynn the chance to take back his guilty plea as his lawyers previously suggested that Flynn possibly didn’t know about the 2017 interview with FBI agents, Politico reports. But Flynn restated his guilty plea in front of the judge and asked to continue with the sentencing.

Despite the delayed sentencing, Sullivan said the postponement might not make a difference and that jail time is still an option. Mueller previously recommended no jail time for Flynn, according to The Post

“This is a very serious offense—a high-ranking senior official of the government, making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while on the physical premises of the White House,” Sullivan said, The Post reports.

The next update to his sentencing will be on March 13, 2019.

What To Look Out For...

A bunch of new music features are coming to Instagram soon. You will soon be able to use music with the questions sticker! It’s basically a new and fun way for you to create the ultimate playlist. Just remember that features tend to roll out slowly on Insta and that you’ll have to update the app.