Saying that serving in the job has been “the greatest honor of my professional life,” Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation Thursday at the White House.
Appearing with President Barack Obama, Holder – who has served in the post for six years – said that “work remains to be done, but our list of accomplishments is real.”
Obama called Holder’s departure “bittersweet” and praised the former prosecutor’s role as "America’s lawyer – the people’s lawyer.”
“Thanks to his efforts, since I took office, the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate have gone down,” Obama said.
Aides told NBC News earlier Thursday that Obama has not yet decided on a successor but that Holder will stay on the job until his replacement is confirmed. Holder informed the president "very recently" of his decision to step down, officials said.
Holder, the first African American to hold the job of attorney general, is among just a handful of cabinet officials who have stayed in their posts since the beginning of Obama's presidency. After his departure, just two - the Department of Agriculture's Tom Vilsack and the Department of Education's Arne Duncan - will remain from Obama's original cabinet.
Holder became a lightning rod for criticism from congressional Republicans, who have pushed for his dismissal over the Fast and Furious gun operation, the IRS targeting scandal, and other high-profile controversies. In 2012, he became the first sitting Cabinet official to be held in contempt of Congress.
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