Trump signs criminal justice reform bill — live updates

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

President Trump is signing the criminal justice reform bill he and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner lobbied for, marking a significant bipartisan achievement in a time when successful bipartisan legislation on major issues is rare.

Mr. Trump will sign the criminal justice reform bill in the Oval Office, after the House and Senate easily passed the legislation, with 12 Republican senators voting against the bill and all Democratic senators present voting for it. The legislation gives judges more discretion when sentencing some drug and lower-level offenders, and increases prisoner rehabilitation efforts.

But that accomplishment is being quickly overshadowed, with hours to go until a government shutdown that Mr. Trump says will last a "very long time" if the Senate doesn't approve a short-term spending bill that includes $5 billion in funding for his border wall. The president is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the "nuclear option" to lower the threshold for votes needed in the Senate from 60 to a simple majority, something McConnell has refused repeatedly to do because he knows Democrats could gain control of the Senate again in the future.

On top of that, news that Secretary of Defense James Mattis is stepping down, amid planned U.S. drawdowns in Syria and Afghanistan, raised concerns from even the president's closest allies about where the nation's national security is headed. Mattis, in his resignation letter said that the president should have a defense secretary who more aligns with his views.

First published on December 21, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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