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EDITORIAL: Trump drags feet on US attorney

By: The Gazette editorial board
November 12, 2017 Updated: November 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm
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President Donald Trump took office 10 months ago. He immediately appointed then-Sen. Jeff Sessions to head the Department of Justice as attorney general of the United States.

Federal law enforcement ranks among the higher priorities of the executive branch, which explains Trump's rapid appointment of a new AG.

In Colorado, the Sessions confirmation means little. In terms of federal justice policy, it appears President Barack Obama defied term limits and received a third term.

More than a year after Trump's election, Obama's U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer remains in charge of federal law enforcement matters throughout Colorado. The White House has failed to appoint a replacement more aligned with the agenda of Sessions and Trump, and nothing indicates a resolution soon.

This long-term extension of Obama's reign over federal justice in Colorado has serious ramifications, because Obama's Justice Department was a stark contrast to Trump's.

Obama reversed the directive of the George W. Bush administration, which instructed U.S. attorneys to file charges based on a suspect's most serious, readily provable offense. There were no easy plea bargains, or subversion of congressional will in sentencing recommendations.

Sessions restored Bush-era policies, but we doubt an Obama-appointed U.S. attorney will rush to embrace and carry out the changes Session wants.

Then we have the matter of Colorado's state-sanctioned, commercialized pot industry that operates in flagrant violation of federal law. Sessions plans to crack down on pot, and at least protect other states from Colorado's profiteering free-for-fall. It is hard to imagine heart-felt buy-in from a U.S. attorney appointed by Obama, whose pot philosophy was the antithesis of views expressed by Sessions over years of public service.

On immigration, Obama's Troyer worked with Denver officials to craft the city's bold new sanctuary policies. If the Trump administration gets tough on sanctuary cities, as promised, it will count on Obama's man sabotaging everything he recently worked to achieve. Unless Troyer's a mindless puppet, devoid of convictions, that is not going to happen.

ColoradoPolitics.com reported in July that Sessions had interviewed two Colorado attorneys, Jason Dunn and James Hearty, for the U.S. attorney position. It seemed an appointment was imminent, but nothing has transpired four months later.

Sources tell us Sessions wants Dunn, who shares his concerns about the long-term effects of marijuana on Colorado children.

Trump should be the decisive executive he portrayed on "The Apprentice" and make an appointment. He should choose the attorney — be it Dunn, Hearty or someone else — whom Sessions recommends. Sessions was chosen and confirmed to run the Department of Justice, and Trump should trust him with the task.

Obama and his administration had eight years to govern and implement their policies throughout the country. Voters elected Trump to change course. In terms of federal justice, nothing much has changed in Colorado, nearly a quarter of the way through Trump's first term.

Make the call and get Colorado a U.S. attorney who can work with today's administration.

The Gazette editorial board

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