Eric Holder, the United States Attorney General, testified yesterday before the House of Representatives' Government Oversight Committee (Rep. Darrell Issa's committee) on the IRS and AP scandals and, according to reports, claimed "I don't know" in response to most questions. Specifically with regard to the AP issue -- where the Department of Justice under his command obtained (probably illegally) the phone records of Associated Press reporters in an investigation of leaks from the White House -- Holder justified his lack of knowledge with the claim that he had "recused" himself from the case.
Only here's the thing. He doesn't remember when he recused himself. And he didn't put his recusal in writing.
Now, remember, THIS IS THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES. And, THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE LAWYER FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
Presumably, then, he should, at a minimum be a competent lawyer.
No competent lawyer who has ever been anywhere near a courtroom would "recuse" himself from a case without putting it in writing. A judge who recuses himself from a case puts that fact on the record through a statement in open court transcribed by his court reporter, or else issues a written order to that effect that is placed in the docket for the case in question. A lawyer or law firm that has to withdraw from a case because of a conflict of interest or because the lawyer might be a fact witness in the case (probably the more appropriate term for what Holder did here), would also always always always put it in writing. This would be the bare minimum for what we call "practice hygiene" -- the stuff we do to make sure that we don't get in trouble with the judge, with the ethics office, or with a malpractice complaint.
But we're supposed to believe that Holder can't remember when he did his off-the-record verbal recusal. (Or perhaps it was a mental recusal? Holder seems to leave that bizarre door open too.)
I call bullshit.
Holder can't have it both ways. Either he knew all about the AP wiretaps, in which case he needs to resign; or else he knew nothing about them because he "recused" himself, but he's so incompetent he didn't put it in writing. In which case he needs to resign too.