WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder bid farewell to the Justice Department on Friday after six years, outlining what he said were his major accomplishments and telling staffers they helped produce a “golden age” in the department’s history.
An emotional Holder, who has served as the nation’s top law enforcement official since the start of the Obama administration, addressed hundreds of lawyers and staff members one day after his successor, Loretta Lynch, was confirmed by the Senate following a months-long delay.
“I am proud of you. I’m going to miss you. I am going to miss this building. I am going to miss this institution. More than anything, I am going to miss you all,” Holder told the standing-room-only crowd, many of whom embraced him after he concluded his speech.
The event also included a tribute video prepared for the occasion that featured members of Congress, former President Bill Clinton and Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone. In it, Holder described an “emotional attachment” to the department and recounted efforts to protect civil rights, prosecute terror suspects in federal court and change the criminal justice system. Other clips showed President Barack Obama showering Holder with praise on the day Holder announced his departure.
Article continues belowHolder, a former judge and U.S. attorney who took the job in 2009, will exit the department as the third-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history. He has not publicly announced what he’ll be doing next.
After Lynch, 55, is sworn in at the Justice Department on Monday, she is likely to continue some of the same agenda as Holder as the Obama administration draws to a close. But she is expected to bring her own management style and has spoken optimistically about having cooperative relationships with Congress following years of bitter feuding between Holder and Republicans, who saw him as overly political and once held him in contempt.