Was Jeff Sessions recused from case that resulted in Trump's DOJ spying on reporters?
Senator Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

The question of whether then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was recused from the case that resulted in Trump's DOJ subpoenaing records of Democrats in Congress.

"Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates that he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic Congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump," The Daily Beast reported Friday. "In the hours since the New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn't aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week's revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions."

"Ordinarily, the Attorney General would've been aware of such politically-sensitive subpoenas. But Sessions' tenure was anything but ordinary. And he famously recused himself from the broader Russia probe following revelations that, as an Alabama senator, he privately met with the Russian ambassador, despite public testimony to the contrary," The Beast noted.

For analysis, The Beast interviewed former DOJ spokesperson Matt Miller.

"In a normally-functioning Department, that is not a call that would be made without the Attorney General's approval," Miller noted.

"The question to me would be whether he [Sessions] was recused or not. We know he was recused from the Russia investigation, and so if he decided that recusal extended to related leak investigations, then it would make sense that he wouldn't know. Recusals are bright lines," he explained.