Rachel Brand, The Third-Ranking Justice Department Official, Is Stepping Down
10 February, 2018, 09:46
Rachel Brand was next in line to Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein for oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation and whether the Republican president has sought to obstruct the ongoing probe. Her resignation comes at a moment of intense political scrutiny for the department, including some harsh criticism from President Trump.
After just nine months in her role, Brand had grown increasingly uncomfortable with Trump's escalating attacks on the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which she and other law enforcement professionals feared was beginning to undermine the rule of law, according to sources.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently praised Brand and his second-in-command, Rod Rosenstein, before the Devin Nunes memo was released on Friday.
Brand will leave her position 'in the coming weeks, ' the statement said.
Because Sessions has recused himself from all investigations involving the 2016 presidential elections, Brand would have found herself overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "Russia investigation" if Rosenstein resigned, were fired, or, as some speculated in July he might, also recused himself from that investigation.
Ms. Brand, who has previously served in both the White House and the Justice Department, was confirmed by the Senate in May. The associate attorney general traditionally is in charge of managing the day-to-day operations at the department. "She will always remain part of the Department of Justice family". Instead, Brand will be resigning to join the private sector, according to the Times sources.
"Thank you for your strong leadership here at the department", Sessions said. That memo states that the person next in line is Solicitor General Noel Francisco.
Brand's responsibilities at the DOJ included the department's civil rights and antitrust divisions, according to the Times.
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