Obama to nominate Lynch for AG

 

President Obama will announce his intention to nominate Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderMeghan McCain to Sunny Hostin on Assange defense: 'Straight propaganda!' Hatch warns 'dangerous' idea of court packing could hurt religious liberty LeBron James: Nipsey Hussle's murder 'one of the most unfortunate events' in American history MORE on Saturday.

If nominated and confirmed, Lynch would become the first African-American woman to hold the post. 

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"Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

"She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement," he added.

Obama will introduce Lynch from the Roosevelt Room in the White House, shortly before departing for a weeklong trip to Asia.

The announcement came late Friday afternoon despite Earnest's repeated assurances earlier in the day that Obama had not made a final decision about the position and that no announcement would come today, suggesting the president may have fast-tracked the nomination after meeting with congressional leaders in the afternoon.

Democrats may be concerned that Lynch would struggle with confirmation once Republicans take control of the Senate. Lynch was approved by a simple voice vote in her appointment to head the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn.

Her high-profile cases include the ongoing prosecution of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) on charges of tax fraud and a case against New York City Police Department officers who beat and sexually abused a Haitian immigrant.

Lynch, like Obama, is a graduate of Harvard Law School. But she is not thought to have close personal ties to the president, as Holder did. Last month, former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who Obama considers a friend, withdrew her name from consideration for the post. 

Labor Secretary Thomas PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli were also thought to be among the finalists for the job.

On Wednesday, the president said his nominee would be "well qualified, will elicit the confidence of the American people, will uphold their constitutional obligations and rule of law, and will get confirmed by the Senate."

The White House said earlier this month that it would hold off the nomination of Holder's replacement until after the midterms, with an administration official saying the delay came partially at the request of Senate Democrats. 

The White House also said that waiting until after voters head to the polls would keep the attorney general nomination from becoming mired in election-year politics.

This story was updated at 6:28 p.m.