BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

(Reuters) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation at the White House on Thursday, Justice Department and White House officials said.

The officials, speaking on background, said Holder will formally announce his plans to leave his post in the Obama administration but will stay on as the nation’s top lawyer until his successor is confirmed.

In a statement, the White House said President Barack Obama would make a personnel announcement at 4:30 p.m. (2030 GMT).

Holder, 63, was the nation’s first black attorney general and has made civil rights a cornerstone of his time in office.

His resignation follows a series of tumultuous events affecting the department, including recent uproar in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed teenager. Under his tenure he also has grappled with other controversies, including the trial of those linked the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as well as the handling of guns at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He has been attorney general for the past six years and is one of longest-serving members of Obama’s Cabinet, where just three members from the president first term remain, according to the department.

Holder “has no immediate plans once he steps down,” the Justice Department official said, adding that Holder had discussed his plans to leave over the past few months and had finalized his decision earlier this month.

Holder, a New York City native and Columbia Law school graduate, was appointed deputy attorney general by President Bill Clinton in 1997 after having served as a U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia.

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan had nominated Holder to be an associate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Bill Trott)