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Democratic senator threatens to stall Trump nominee over 3D guns

Democratic senator threatens to stall Trump nominee over 3D guns
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyElection Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda MORE (D-Mass.) is threatening to stall a top State Department nominee until the Trump administration reverses course on allowing blueprints for 3D printed guns to be published online.

Markey said during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday that he would place a hold on R. Clarke Cooper's nomination to be an assistant secretary of State amid a fight over the guns.

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“Until the president agrees to reverse this policy and prohibit the online publication of these dangerous blueprints -- a decision that is entirely within his authority -- I intend to place a hold on your nomination," Markey said.

He added that while Cooper, who would oversee the State Department's bureau of political-military affairs, wasn't responsible for the administration's policy, "You are asking us to confirm you to a position where you will be defending the indefensible."

Placing a hold on Cooper’s nomination can't prevent him from being confirmed, but it would force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout Sanders: Democrats ‘absolutely’ have chance to win back rural America  Trump privately ready to blame Ryan and McConnell if Republicans lose midterms: report MORE (R-Ky.) to use up days of floor time to get him confirmed once his nomination is brought to the floor.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday blocking the online release of plans for 3D printed guns, hours before the blueprints were set to become available.

The administration has come under criticism for a legal settlement with a gun rights activist last month over the distribution of 3D firearm blueprints. Defense Distributed sued the U.S. government in 2015 after the State Department forced all of its instruction manuals to be removed from the internet.

Under the terms of the court settlement, Defense Distributed was expected to be allowed to start publishing digital blueprints on its website starting Aug. 1. But thousands have already been downloaded when some plans were put online early.

Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation that would ban blueprints of 3D printed guns from being posted online. Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout Poll: Nelson leads Scott by 6 points in Florida Senate race Poll: Nelson tied with Scott in Florida Senate race MORE (D-Fla.) tried to pass the legislation by unanimous consent, but Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress raises pressure on Saudi Arabia Senators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist MORE (R-Utah) objected, saying he had First Amendment concerns.