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Saturday August 8th, 2020 10:14PM

The Latest: Buttigieg calls for criminal justice reform

By The Associated Press
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the Democratic presidential campaign (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) says it's imperative to reform the nation's criminal justice system in ways that are more equitable for all races.

The South Bend, Indiana, Mayor told a crowd packed into a high school auditorium in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday that his plan includes eliminating mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and also legalizing marijuana.

Buttigieg also said he wants to improve relations between law enforcement and minority communities. Buttigieg is spending two days campaigning in South Carolina, where black voters make up the majority of the Democratic primary electorate.

He has said he's making a conscious effort in his campaign to focus on issues important to black voters, meeting this past week with the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader, at the Harlem soul food restaurant Sylvia's.

___

2 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is repeating his calls to impeach President Donald Trump and drawing a distinction between himself and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who's declining any rush to proceedings.

The former Texas congressman spoke with reporters on Sunday after a town hall at a former livestock auction space in rural Shenandoah, Iowa.

O'Rourke said special counsel Robert Mueller's report makes impeachment more necessary than ever. He said "proceedings in the House ensure that more of these facts come to light, ensure that the Senate can make a very informed decision about this president."

Asked about Pelosi cautioning against doing so O'Rourke answered, "That's fine. We're two different people."

O'Rourke said he really respects "the speaker and what she's been able to do, but when asked my opinion I've got to give my opinion not anyone else's."

___

1:10 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is announcing a sweeping agriculture reform and rural investment plan that would change farm subsidies and break up major agriculture monopolies.

Sanders is set to unveil the plan in Osage, Iowa, a town of fewer than 4,000 residents.

The plan includes a number of antitrust proposals, including breaking up existing agriculture monopolies and placing a moratorium on future mergers between big agriculture companies.

It also proposes major changes to the current farm subsidy system toward what the plan calls a "parity system." That plan seeks to ensure farmers are "guaranteed the cost of production and family living expenses," though the plan doesn't include details on how.

Sanders would also classify food supply security as a national security issue.

___

10:40 a.m.

The latest Democrat pursuing the presidential nomination is trying to distinguish himself as someone "who's going to level with the American people about why our system doesn't seem to work for them."

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that his time in Washington has helped him know how to get things done and what needs fixing.

He says it's "a disgrace that we lost" to Donald Trump in 2016, adding Democrats must find an approach to deny him a second term.

Bennet says it seems "fairly clear" from special counsel Robert Mueller's report that Trump "committed impeachable offenses," but for now the senator favors continued congressional investigations.

He thinks Attorney General William Barr should resign, saying Barr "has behaved like Trump's criminal defense lawyer" rather than attorney general.

___

9:20 a.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is wrapping up his first presidential campaign trip to South Carolina by worshipping at a prominent African American church in West Columbia.

Sitting on a front-center pew, the former vice president and his wife, Jill, received a standing ovation when the Rev. Charles B. Jackson of Brookland Baptist Church introduced them as "Dr. Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden."

The 76-year-old Catholic candidate smiled and waved.

"Dr. Joe, that was some major applause, my brother," Jackson said.

Jackson praised his congregation as already approaching 100 percent voter registration and participation. He encouraged parishioners to "take somebody else to the polls with you."

South Carolina hosts the South's first presidential primary and is the first state in the Democratic nominating process where black voters wield considerable influence.

___

8:25 a.m.

Democrat Joe Biden's visit to a South Carolina church Sunday is part of his 2020 presidential campaign's outreach to black voters, who play a pivotal role in the early-voting state's primary.

The former vice president is wrapping up a two-day stop in South Carolina by attending services in West Columbia.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) of South Bend, Indiana, is holding a town hall in North Charleston, where African Americans account for nearly half the population.

Iowa is the focus for Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman, and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator. And Kamala (KAH'-mah-lah) Harris, the California senator, plans to attend an NAACP dinner in Detroit.

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