No. 3 Official at Justice Department to Resign

10 February, 2018, 04:37 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • NYT Senior DOJ official steps down

Brand, 44, was named to the Justice Department by then president George W. Bush in 2003, and left four years later to work in the private sector. She was in line to oversee the investigation if Rosenstein stepped down.

"She has the gravitas of being the third ranking official in the Department of Justice, but also the subject matter expertise on Section 702 from her time serving on the bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board", Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, who leads the department's Office of Legislative Affairs, told CNN last month. "I've seen firsthand his commitment to the rule of law and to keeping the American people safe". Unlike other top officials, she has not been personally targeted by Trump. The official overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has been repeatedly criticized by Trump.

"Rachel has shown real leadership over many important divisions at the department", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday night in which he congratulated Brand. And questions over whether Trump would fire Rosenstein intensified last week when a memo, spearheaded by GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, was publicly released. That job would now fall to Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

The Justice Department did not immediately confirm the report.

Trump, who has openly lamented his inability to influence Justice Department decisions, has stepped up his criticism in recent weeks, fueled by the release of a politically explosive memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance powers in the Russian Federation investigation.

Brand has kept a very low profile at the department, but in December she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post defending the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the National Security Agency to collect foreign intelligence on USA soil without individualized warrants. He said he wouldn't have appointed Sessions attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe.

"She felt this was an opportunity she couldn't turn down", Gorelick said.


A source familiar with Brand's plans said she is going to accept a job with Walmart.

'It really seems to have her name on it'.

In a statement, Brand said she is proud of the department's accomplishments during her short time there.

Brand has one of the department's more politically challenging jobs, managing the lawyers who litigate civil issues, including Trump's travel ban as well as civil rights, environmental and antitrust cases.

The daughter and granddaughter of Dutch dairy farmers in Iowa, Brand has been praised for her deep knowledge of the Justice Department.

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.

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