President Obama will announce on Saturday that he intends to nominate Loretta E. Lynch, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, to be the next attorney general, bringing a new face into his inner circle at the White House, administration officials said Friday.
A White House statement said Mr. Obama would announce the nomination Saturday at an event in the Roosevelt Room, where he will be joined by Ms. Lynch and Eric H. Holder Jr., the current attorney general.
"Ms. Lynch is a strong, independent prosecutor who has twice led one of the most important U.S. attorney's offices in the country," Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said. "She will succeed Eric Holder, whose tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement."
The decision to announce Ms. Lynch's nomination came after days of speculation in the news media that she was a leading contender to replace Mr. Holder, who is stepping down early next year after being a central figure in Mr. Obama's cabinet since the first days of his presidency.
If confirmed she would be the first African-American woman to serve as the nation's top law enforcement official. She would also be a rare instance of Mr. Obama reaching outside his inner circle to fill a crucial post.
Mr. Obama's nomination of Ms. Lynch might carry substantial political benefits for a White House recalibrating its strategy after Republicans took over the Senate.
Indeed, Ms. Lynch is a two-time United States attorney who has twice been confirmed by the Senate by acclamation, in 2000 and again in 2010. She also has no personal ties to Mr. Obama or his policies, freeing her of the political baggage that has weighed down other candidates once thought to have an edge in the process.
Her nomination also allows the president, questioned in recent days about what he might do differently after the electoral thrashing by Republicans, to bring a fresh face into an administration many have criticized as too insular.
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