UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller reports that Cory Gardner is releasing his holds on the high-priority nominees Jeff Sessions complained about being held up, though apparently some lower-priority holds will continue:
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is dropping his holds on certain Justice Department nominees “as an act of good faith” amid ongoing conversations with the deputy U.S. attorney general and the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado.
Gardner said he would lift his holds on the assistant attorney general for national security, U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals, but said his holds “on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.”
…He said that his “positive conversations” with Rosenstein and Troyer led him to Thursday’s decision. But he said that people shouldn’t construe the decision as backing off his thoughts that there should be solutions put in place to protect Colorado’s marijuana programs. [Pols emphasis]
Because obviously, the best way to negotiate is to give up your most valuable bargaining chips.
Colorado’s Republican U.S. senator says there’s been enough progress on negotiations over marijuana with the Trump administration that he will stop blocking nominees for some jobs in the Justice Department.
Cory Gardner used his power as a senator to freeze department nominations last month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked Obama-era protections for states that have broadly legalized marijuana.
Gardner said Sessions needed to re-establish protections for the industry. Gardner told The Associated Press on Thursday that recent talks make him confident the department won’t change the way it enforces federal laws in Colorado and other states that allow adults to use cannabis recreationally.
News reports as recently as yesterday documented the continuing impasse between Sen. Cory Gardner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over rescinding the Obama-era Cole Memorandum dictating a hands-off policy toward legal marijuana states. Gardner specifically stated in a Senate floor speech that he would hold Justice Department nominees until the Cole memorandum was reinstated.
Since that time, however, pressure from law enforcement groups and conservative supporters of Sessions has built on Gardner to release his DOJ holds. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions went public with criticism of Gardner’s actions, complaining that the holds were hampering his ability to fill critical positions.
And today, Gardner announced he would release the DOJ holds for which he earned nationwide thanks from marijuana advocates. Without getting what he demanded. The Cole memo has not been reinstated, nor will it be now. The revised guidance from Sessions to U.S. Attorneys that provoked widespread fears of a marijuana crackdown remains operative. The industry has no real assurance other than Sessions’ apparent word to Gardner–which Gardner already blasted Sessions for breaking in the past.
Anybody who is surprised by Gardner’s lack of courage down the stretch, please raise your hands.
Nobody should be raising their hands.