Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch will be President Barack Obama’s pick for attorney general, CNN reported Friday, citing unnamed White House officials. Obama has yet to make a formal announcement, and it's unclear how reliable CNN's sources were.
Later Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama has not made a decision on the appointment, "and we're not going to have any personnel announcements today on that matter," the Hill reported.
Lynch was first nominated as a U.S. attorney by then-President Bill Clinton and confirmed in the Senate in 1999, and Obama renewed her appointment in 2010. Lynch is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The office also shares jurisdiction over Manhattan with the Southern District of New York. Among Lynch’s successes was the prosecution of white NYPD officer Justin Volpe, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the sexual attack on African-American Abner Louima in 1999.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold that post, announced his resignation in September. He said he would step down after his successor is confirmed. If confirmed, Lynch will be the first African-American woman to become attorney general and just the second woman after Janet Reno.
Lynch’s nomination was not publicly confirmed by Obama administration officials. "We don't have any personnel updates for you, and I'm certainly not going to speculate on any decisions before the president announces them,” Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told CNN.
Lynch emerged as a top-tier contender for the attorney general nomination in recent days. Other possibilities included Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
With Republicans regaining control of the Senate in January, Obama is likely to nominate Lynch during the lame-duck session of Congress, since a simple majority is needed for Senate confirmation and Democrats are still in the majority.
Republicans made major gains in the U.S. House and Senate in Tuesday's midterm elections after slamming Obama's economic policies. They will control Congress for the first time since 2006 starting in January.