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Attorney General Eric Holder announces resignation

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that he will resign after six years at the Justice Department helm.

The attorney general says he will stay until his successor is named.

At a formal announcement with the President, Holder expressed pride and sadness.

\"Proud of what the men an women of the Justice Department have accomplished over the past six years,\" said Holder.  \"And at the same time, sad that I won't be a formal part, a formal part, of the great things that this department and this President will accomplish over the next two.\"

Obama said the moment was \"bittersweet.\"

An Obama administration official noted for CNN some of Holder's accomplishments, saying the attorney general established a historic legacy of civil rights enforcement and restored fairness to the criminal justice system.

\"He revitalized the Justice Department's praised Civil Rights Division, protected the rights of the LGBT community, successfully prosecuted terrorists, and fought tirelessly for voting rights, to name a few,\" the official said.

Holder has been talking with the president about resigning for several months. He made the decision on Labor Day and then made it official Thursday.

Holder's time has been controversial and he's been criticized for being too political.

Rep. Jeff Duncan of California tweeted, \"Good riddance Eric Holder. Your disregard for the Constitution of the United States will not be missed.\"

Congressional Republicans have been at odds with Holder. They accused him of defying the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v. Holder, which struck down a component of the Voting Rights Act, and they investigated him over Operation Fast and Furious.

In Fast and Furious, the so-called gun-walking operation, roughly 2,000 guns were allowed into Mexico with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. Two guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's fatal shooting in December 2010 were linked to the operation.

The House in June 2012 to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents linked to that operation.

The attorney general is one of only three remaining members of Obama's original Cabinet.

In 2013, Holder described his first meeting with Obama, which occurred just after Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

\"I sat next to him at this dinner and we just started talking about a variety of things, sports among them and criminal justice issues. And we saw that we had a lot of similar views and so we just started a relationship that was casual,\" Holder said.

Holder was sworn in as the 82nd attorney general in February 2009 after serving as President Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general, the first African-American to serve in that position.

Previously, the Columbia Law School graduate was U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and served during President Ronald Reagan's administration as an associate judge at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

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