In a surprising move, Eric Holder Jr. will step down as Attorney General, the White House announced Thursday.
Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.
Holder’s tenure as America’s top law enforcement has been marred by controversy and frequent conflict with Republicans in Congress. Conservatives have long alleged that Holder, a former ally to President Bill Clinton, allowed politics to interfere with investigations into scandal emanating from the Obama administration, including the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal and the controversial targeting of conservative non-profit groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the White House press office, Obama will announce Holder’s resignation at 4:30 EST at an event in the State Dining Room.
This story will be updated.