WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says Attorney General Eric Holder removed himself from a decision to subpoena phone records of The Associated Press.
A Justice Department statement Tuesday says that Holder stepped aside — a procedure known as recusal. The statement says Holder stepped aside because he had been interviewed in a government investigation into who provided information for an AP story that disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen.
Holder has assigned Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole to handle the phone records case.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The AP in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations gather the news.