U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is continuing to soften his threat to block Justice Department nominees if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions won’t reverse his decision to undermine pot legalization in Colorado and elsewhere.
In a radio interview Wednesday, Gardner called U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions a “good man” and said he’s now giving Trump’s Justice Department time to provide pot “enforcement priorities that we need” and to “work with us to protect those states’ rights.”
KNUS radio host Dan Caplis: You’re blocking of certain Justice Department appointments until Senator Sessions does what he had promised you he would do. Where does that stand now?
Gardner: Well, I think we have to have an understanding from what then-Senator Sessions had told us, and why it is different today. Because I think there are – not just me, but a number of other Senators who were told one thing, and it turns out that another action was taken. So, we have to have an understanding of why that is the case. And I think we’ll hopefully have that. And I also think this gives us a chance to give the Department of Justice time to provide the transparency and enforcement priorities that we need, and can work with us to protect those states’ rights.
Look, in 2016, when Trump came to CO, he said he was going to protect states’ rights, and he would not use federal powers to do this. And so, under the several provisions that we’ve talked about tonight, I think we can help make sure that President Trump’s word is kept in Colorado.
Gardner got national media attention for his threat last week, delivered from the floor of the U.S. Senate, to block Justice Department nominations in response to Sessions’ decision to rescind an Obama-era policy allowing states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention to stop it.
After his angry floor speech, in an interview with MSNBC, Gardner clarified that he would not block the nomination of judges, stating, “Look, it’s the DOJ appointees. I’m assuming U.S. Marshalls, U.S. Attorneys as well.”
Gardner, who also told MSNBC that he’s never smoked pot, took an even more conciliatory response after meeting with Sessions Wednesday.
Channel 7 reporter Blair Miller reported Wednesday that Gardner still planned to block Justice Department nominations but this will be difficult in some cases. Miller reported:
Gardner has also told Sessions he will hold up Justice Department nominees until Sessions took a step back, though he admitted Tuesday that if the nominees have “overwhelming support” that it would “be difficult to stop them.”
Also on Wednesday, on KNUS radio, Gardner sounded optimistic, calling the discussion with Sessions a “good meeting” and Sessions a “good man.”
“We agreed to disagree,” said Gardner. “I think Jeff Sessions is a good man. We agreed to disagree. And agreed to further discussions and hopefully meetings with other Members of Congress in the House and the Senate to figure out how we can move forward.”
Listen to Gardner discuss his meeting with Sessions here: