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Screenshot of Attorney General Eric Holder press briefing on May 14, 2013
In a press conference this afternoon Attorney General Eric Holder said that he recused himself from the Department of Justice leak investigation that included the subpoena of AP phone records but expressed confidence that the deputy who handled the case followed DOJ regulations.

"I'm not familiar with all that went into the formulation of the subpoena—I was recused," Holder said. "But I'm confident that the people who are involved ... followed all of the appropriate Department of Justice regulations."

Holder said he recused himself early on in the investigation after he was interviewed in connection with it. Despite having recused himself, Holder defended the investigation, saying the leak was "very serious" one. He said it was in "the top two or three most serious leaks" that he'd encountered as a prosecutor. "It put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole," Holder said. "Trying to determine who was responsible for that required very aggressive action."

Beyond that, Holder didn't directly discuss the case. Speaking more generally, Holder embraced a reporter shield law. "In 2009, when I was going through my confirmation hearings, I testified in favor of a reporter shield law," Holder said. The Obama administration, he said, supported a reporter shield law, but Congress failed to pass one. "That's something this administration thinks would be appropriate."

In 2007 and 2008, then-Senator Obama cosponsored a reporter shield law that would have protected the AP by requiring a court review for the type of subpoena issued by the Department of Justice in this case. The DOJ regulations governing the subpoenas were last updated in October 2008.

12:05 PM PT: Despite what Holder said about the administration supporting a shield law, it turns out that the administration opposed key provisions of it. (h/t: David Mizner)


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