Reid has harsh words for DoJ

The Senate Democratic Leader says the Department of Justice handled the AP phone records case "wrong" [UPDATED]

Published May 15, 2013 5:30PM (EDT)

                          (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

UPDATE - May 15, 2:35 p.m.: Reid's office clarified to Salon that he did not say Holder was personally wrong in his decision to recuse himself, but rather paused to note that Holder had recused himself before saying the DoJ has not handled the situation correctly. This post has been updated to reflect that clarification.

Original post:

In a meeting with a small group of progressive reporters today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Department of Justice was "wrong" in the way it handled the leak investigation that targeted Associated Press reporters.

Reid reiterated that he "can't really defend the Department of Justice at all," and mentioned the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder had recused himself, something Holder first acknowledged in a press conference yesterday afternoon. "I think what happened, he recused himself, is something that is wrong," Reid said.

"I just think this has been handled so wrong," he added of the whole case. The DOJ should have instead worked "matter of factly" with the AP to come to some kind of an agreement before secretly taking phone records of about 20 reporters and editors, Reid added.

Asked by the Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky if Obama needs to do something to show that people are being held accountable, Reid paused for a long moment and rubbed his temples. "I hope he doesn't do something that's cosmetic in nature like firing somebody," he added. "But if there's something there that I don't see, then fire some people."

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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Associated Press Department Of Justice Eric Holder Harry Reid