Fallout continues from The Associated Press’s explosive report Monday that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of the Associated Press’ telephone records.
The DOJ claims it was trying to observe how the news organization gathered its information following the leak of classified data about a failed al-Qaeda plot last year.
It has been noted that because the probe was secret, it would have required the DOJ to have Attorney General Eric Holder’s signature to go forward with obtaining the records.
On Tuesday, Holder said that he had recused himself in June 2012 from involvement in the DOJ leak investigation that secretly acquired the records. The Washington Post reports:
Holder said he testified in June 2012 that he was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the probe into a leak of classified information to the AP. “To avoid any potential appearance of a conflict of interest,” he said, “I recused myself from this matter.”
Since then, he said, the investigation has been conducted by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the supervision of the deputy attorney general, James M. Cole.
“The decision to seek media toll records in this investigation was made by the Deputy Attorney General consistent with Department regulations and policies,” the Justice Department said in a statement shortly before Holder made his remarks.
During Tuesday’s broadcast of ‘Wilkow,’ Andrew and guests debated the media and legal aspects of the scandal.
Florida Republican U.S. House Member Trey Radel, a former broadcast journalist and newspaper owner, says the DOJ actions represent a threat to the first amendment, and both parties should rally behind an investigation to see how high up and extensive this goes.
Newspaper Association of America CEO Caroline Little says this is an example of government ignoring their own rules that they lay out for the press.
Watch a clip from the segment below: