WASHINGTON — Loretta Lynch was sworn in Monday as the 83rd U.S. attorney general, the first African-American woman to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official.

Speaking before an audience of family members, Justice Department lawyers and supporters, Lynch said her confirmation as attorney general showed that “we can do anything” and pledged that the agency would “use justice as our compass” in confronting terrorism, cyberattacks and other threats facing the country.

“We can imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness, for the protection of both the needs of victims and the rights of all. We can restore trust and faith both in our laws and in those of us who enforce them,” Lynch said, an apparent reference to ongoing efforts to repair relations between police departments and the minority communities that they serve.

Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to Lynch at a Justice Department ceremony, calling Lynch an “incredibly qualified” selection for the position. He said Lynch had shown grace during the months-long confirmation process, in which her nomination became caught up in Congress in a dispute over human trafficking legislation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s about time – it’s about time this woman is being sworn in,” Biden said to applause.

The 55-year-old Lynch was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. She replaces Eric Holder, who left the position Friday after serving as attorney general for six years.

Lynch met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday afternoon.

The two discussed the ongoing rioting in Baltimore, which came hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray – who died after suffering a severe spinal injury in Baltimore police custody. The Justice Department is investigating that death, and Lynch told the president that the agency would provide whatever help was needed.

She was previously the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which encompasses much of New York City, and is expected to serve as the top federal law enforcement official for the remainder of the Obama administration.

Lynch isn’t expected to make radical departures from Holder’s agenda, but has said she hopes to have a productive relationship with Congress. Holder frequently clashed with Republicans on Capitol Hill and was held in contempt during a document dispute stemming from the Fast and Furious federal investigation into gun trafficking.

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