Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday brushed aside questions about when he might step down, suggesting he will do so when he's too tired to continue or when he's accomplished his goals.

Holder was pressed repeatedly at a hearing by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who suggested Holder might be too much of a distraction right now. Holder left open the possibility but said he's quite capable of leading the Justice Department amidst controversy.

"The tipping point might be fatigue; you get to a point where you just get tired," Holder said. "But beyond that ... there are certain goals that I set for myself and this department that I set in 2009. When I get to the point where I’ve accomplished all the goals I’ve set, I will sit down and talk with the president about a transition to a new attorney general."