Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Arkansas) criticized the Democrats for backing criminal justice reform that was actually signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018.

“It’s your party who voted in lockstep for the First Step Act, that let thousands of violent felons on the street who have now committed innumerable violent crimes,” Cotton said during a Senate meeting on Wednesday.

“The First Step Act, the Republicans were in the majority. Who signed it into law? Donald Trump signed it into law!” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) responded.

Cotton then confirmed that Trump signed the First Step Act into law, but added that the Republicans who voted for the bill were “wrong” and that the bill was “the worst mistake of the Trump Administration.” The bill passed 87-12 in the Senate.

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The First Step Act tackles criminal justice reform, aiming to reduce the size of the prison population by expanding the scope of the Fair Sentencing Act and relaxing minimum sentences. It also sought to increase “credit” or good behavior programs that would allow prisoners to shorten their sentences. Only federal facilities were impacted by the bill.

Trump had highlighted the legislation in an ad during the Super Bowl two years ago as he was ramping up his reelection campaign leading up to the 2020 election.

“People talk about criminal justice reform,” the commercial said. “President Trump got it done.”

Watch the exchange between Cotton and Durbin below.


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