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Senator to Lift DOJ Blockade in Show of ‘Good Faith’ to Jeff Sessions

February 15, 2018
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., pauses while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Colorado’s Republican U.S. senator will stop blocking nominees for some Justice Department jobs over concerns about the marijuana industry, saying Thursday that federal officials have shown good faith in recent conversations on the department’s cannabis policy.


Jeff Sessions Is Steamed Over Senator’s Cannabis Blockade

Cory Gardner used his power as a senator last month to freeze nominations for posts at the agency after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era protections for states like Colorado that have broadly legalized recreational marijuana. It was a dramatic move by a Republican senator against his own party’s attorney general and came after Gardner said Sessions had promised him there wouldn’t be a crackdown. Gardner said he was placing holds on nominees until Sessions changed his approach.

He will release his holds on nominees for U.S. attorneys in a dozen federal districts, U.S. marshals in every district and on John Demers, who was nominated to head Justice’s national security division.

The holds have created friction both with Sessions, who has complained that critical posts are going unfilled, and some of Gardner’s fellow GOP senators who want key law enforcement officials in their states confirmed.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gardner said Thursday that he’s discussed the issue with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has been pleased with progress so far. Department leaders have “shown in good faith their willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought, and as sort of a good faith gesture on my behalf I’ll be releasing a limited number of nominees,” Gardner said.

He will release his holds on nominees for U.S. attorneys in a dozen federal districts, U.S. marshals in every district and on John Demers, who was nominated to head Justice’s national security division.


Here’s Where US Attorneys Stand on Cannabis Enforcement

Gardner stopped short of saying Rosenstein offered his assurances that the department would not crack down on the legal cannabis industry, but gave him enough comfort that Colorado’s acting U.S. attorney, Bob Troyer, will continue to focus on prosecuting people acting outside of Colorado’s voter-approved marijuana laws rather than those who follow them. That follows a pledge Troyer made the day Sessions announced his agency’s new marijuana policy.

Gardner will continue to hold the nominations of seven top Department of Justice nominees. He’s also working with a bipartisan group of members of congress to pursue legislation protecting states that have legalized marijuana.

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  • D wise

    Don’t trust any of them!

  • freewheelinfranklin543

    Wonder what Sessions has on him. Coward!

  • Klm Mexico

    Usual good ol’ boy’s bullshit. Congress members getting payoffs and bribes. Everyone in congress is a liar and will not do what they promised the voters. All should be thrown out and jailed for lying about promises made to the voters… called perjury which is against the law in the country.

    • Rick Pauley

      No, everyone in Congress is not a liar. That is the domain of the GOP. It’s a real mistake to let them off the hook by saying “well, everybody does it”.

  • DonR

    At least Gardner made the point (and he can always go back to blocking if necessary). He is taking a lot of heat now on other issues (funding from the NRA, etc.) and I am sure he is trying to stay alive so he can come back to this again. He will keep fighting Sessions and his stupidity, I’m sure.

    • freewheelinfranklin543

      He surrendered!

    • COLiberal

      Put down the pipe Don! He doesn’t care about his constituents and he shows it at almost every vote.

      • DonR

        Admittedly, I am not a single issue voter so perhaps this is why I see him in a different light.

  • lovingc

    Wimped out for what exactly? I did not see one word as to why he is backing down. There were no assurances that the DOJ will not come down on cannabis business.

  • Rick Pauley

    I think you’re making a mistake Sen Gardner. The people in this WH have no honor. If you think that little troll, Sessions, will do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, you (and we) will be disappointed.

  • ChemBob

    Well, that is a big freaking mistake. Sessions is a complete jerk.

  • Jimmy R

    Just No. Sessions does not deserve any good-faith gestures. Sessions is the number one enemy of the cannabis legalization movement.

    (Cory might wanna ask his colleague Susan Collins how her “good-faith gesture” towards Turtle McConnell worked out for her.)

    • Hedda Hopper

      Sessions, as a matter of FACT, has the “responsibility” to uphold the Federal law.

      He said it clearly upon accepting the position – He will uphold the LAW. If Congress wants to change the LAW, then the states are free to do as they wish, But until then, he must follow the law.

      It is really fortunate that he has been preoccupied with so many more pressing problems.

      We ALL wish he had not recused himself from the Hillary prosecution. Then he probably would NEVER have

      time to get around to battling the trivial legalization of “pot”.

  • COLiberal

    So much for a principled position from Cory! Exactly a demonstration of why he’ll be former Senator Gardner in 2021.