The Justice Department's third-ranking official, Rachel Brand, is planning to step down from her post, the New York Times reported Friday. Her resignation comes at a moment of intense political scrutiny for the department, including some harsh criticism from President Trump.
Brand is the most senior official under Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein..
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In a statement, Brand said she is proud of the department's accomplishments during her short time there.
A 2016 Justice Department memo outlines the order of succession in overseeing the investigation if Rosenstein is recused or removed before Brand is replaced, according to Buzzfeed. "Rod's had 27 years in the department, Rachel's had a number of years in the department previously, so they both represent the kind of quality and leadership we want in the department", Sessions said. Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein.
When Trump was asked by a reporter whether he was then more likely to fire Rosenstein and whether he had confidence in him, Trump replied "you figure that one out".
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In her role as associate attorney general, Brand oversaw a broad portfolio, including the Justice Department's anti-trust, civil rights, tax and civil divisions. She is leaving for an attractive offer in the private sector, according to the person. The memo alleged the Federal Bureau of Investigation abused its power regarding surveillance methods, and said Rosenstein signed off on at least one FISA application of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, clerked at the Supreme Court, she worked at the White House, in academia, and has served in leadership positions spanning three administrations. Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI who received some of the fiercest of Trump's attacks, was reportedly pushed out of the bureau last week.
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