President Obama is expected to appoint Loretta Lynch as the next attorney general, CNN reported Friday morning. She would succeed Eric Holder, who announced in September he would step down once a successor is confirmed.
If confirmed, Lynch would be the first female African-American attorney general. The White House would not immediately confirm the report. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday afternoon at a press briefing that no announcement would come today, and that a final decision has not yet been made.
Lynch, 55, is currently the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn and a fairly low-profile choice. She is the U.S. attorney who led the investigation of Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York and indicted him on wire fraud and perjury. Lynch also aided a Justice Department investigation of Citigroup mortgage securities, which resulted in the bank paying a $7 billion settlement in July.
During her tenure, Lynch has served under Obama and President Clinton. She won a high-profile case in 2000 against New York police officers who viciously assaulted immigrant Abner Louima.
Lynch's name was not among those immediately floated after Holder announced his resignation last month. The top contenders included Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. Both have close ties to the president, and a nomination of either would have likely set off Republican opposition.
Obama's expected appointment of Lynch adds another item to an already packed lame-duck session. If the confirmation gets sidelined in the current Congress, it will pass to the incoming Republican Congress, which could potentially derail the nomination.
It's unclear when Obama will make a formal announcement about Lynch. He arrives in China on Monday for a weeklong visit to Asia, and is not expected to make an announcement until he returns. Also unclear is how Republicans will view Lynch's nomination. In 2010, Lynch was easily confirmed to her current post on a voice vote.
Lynch would succeed Holder, who was a polarizing figure on Capitol Hill. Her nomination could give the Obama administration a chance to reset its relationship with some Capitol Hill Republicans.
The New York Times reported Friday that it was Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's idea to highlight Lynch as a potential attorney general candidate. Back in Brooklyn, Lynch is known as a workhorse, averse to holding big press conferences or amassing media attention.