WASHINGTON — Colorado’s Republican U.S. senator said Thursday he will stop blocking nominees for some Justice Department jobs, saying he is encouraged by recent conversations with federal officials about the treatment of the state’s marijuana industry, despite the tougher stance by the Trump administration.
Sen. Cory Gardner used his power last month to freeze nominations after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era protections for states such as Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana.
It was a dramatic move by the Republican senator against his party’s attorney general and occurred 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.
The holds created friction 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.