Trump signs sweeping criminal justice bill

  • Trump called the bill "an incredible success for our country" and "beyond bipartisan" during an Oval Office signing ceremony.
  • Lawmakers and advocates also hailed it as a hugely influential package and thanked the president for supporting the issue.
  • The legislation will give judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and will boost prisoner rehabilitation efforts, among other efforts.
From left, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Cory Booker, D-N.J., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on the passage of the criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, on December 19, 2018. (
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images
From left, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Cory Booker, D-N.J., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on the passage of the criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, on December 19, 2018. (

With a government shutdown just hours away, President Donald Trump on Friday signed rare bipartisan legislation addressing concerns with the criminal justice system.

Trump called the bill "an incredible success for our country" and "beyond bipartisan" during an Oval Office signing ceremony.

Lawmakers and advocates also hailed it as a hugely influential package and thanked the president for supporting the issue.

The legislation will give judges more discretion when sentencing some drug offenders and will boost prisoner rehabilitation efforts, among other efforts.

It received the rare support of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers as well as conservative and liberal groups that rarely work together.

Playing a key role behind the scenes was Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, whose father spent time in federal prison when he was younger.