AG Holder says he did not inform WH he recused himself in @AP case, did not do so in writing and cannot say when he did so.
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) May 15, 2013
Twitter is blowing up over this right now. Stand by for updates.
Update: Gabe Malor asks an excellent question:
If there's no written record of recusal, who told DAG Cole that he was running the AP investigation?
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) May 15, 2013
Did Holder just sort of … “drift away” from this whole mess after his recusal? Remember, this was no ordinary investigation. Yesterday Holder himself called the leak in the AP case one of the most serious, if not the most serious, he’d ever seen. He must have recognized instantly that there was a chance that reporters’ phone records would be subpoenaed to get to the bottom of it, which would be politically explosive for the White House. And yet he never formally notified anyone that he was backing away, huh? At this point, Obama should fire him even if he’s telling the truth.
Update: Holder says he had to recuse himself because he was a “fact witness”:
The attorney general recused himself because he was interviewed as a “fact witness” — “a possessor of the information that was ultimately leaked” — meaning that he could theoretically have leaked the information about the thwarted terrorist attack that was the subject of the AP report.
If they were looking at Holder as a potential leaker, the leak must have come from very high up. That jibes with Holder’s rhetoric about the seriousness of the situation; they must be looking at someone at or near the cabinet level, potentially, as the AP’s source.
Wouldn’t the AG be a potential “fact witness” in lots of leak cases, though, given the sensitive info he’s privy to? Why recuse himself in this particular case?
Update: Dave Weigel points to this DOJ press release last summer in which Holder announced he was assigning attorneys to lead the leak investigation. That would have been the moment to announce his recusal, but there’s nothing in there about that.
Obvious question: Did he refuse to recuse himself publicly from an explosive national-security investigation because that would have made for particularly bad headlines five months before the election?
Update: More good news from CNS: Holder’s not 100 percent sure which deputy AG actually authorized the AP subpoenas. Simply amazing.