February 25, 2018

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No. 3 Official at Department of Justice Is Stepping Down

11 February 2018

The third-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department, Rachel Brand, will step down nine months after she was confirmed as associate attorney general, the Associated Press confirmed.

Brand's profile rose since she was next in line to assume the position of Deputy Attorney General now held by Rod Rosenstein. As the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, Brand would be next in line to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into [alleged] Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which Trump has blasted as a "witch hunt".

Sessions applauded Brand for her service to the DOJ, calling her "a lawyer's lawyer".

The resignation comes just one week after Brand and Rosenstein received praise from Sessions.

"We are fortunate to have a leader of Rachel Brand's stature join the company", CEO Doug McMillon in the statement.

Trump's broadsides have strained morale at the institution, which has always been praised for its independence from the White House. If Rosenstein were to be fired or otherwise vacate his position, Brand, as associate attorney general, would have been in line to step into that role. Brand answers directly to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general and Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.

She was the Justice Department's third in command. In addition to her third in command position she's now vacating, Rachel worked in the Office of Legal policy at the DOJ under the second Bush administration and then served on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board under the Obama administration.

A Justice Department spokesperson was not immediately available to comment or to confirm the report. In a statement, Walmart said that Brand will "oversee departments including legal, global ethics and compliance, security, aviation and travel, along with her role as corporate secretary".

The New York Times first reported her decision.

A source familiar with Brand's plans said she is going to accept a job with Walmart. She had responsibilities in the department's civil rights, antitrust and civil divisions.

Brand recently pushed Congress to renew a foreign intelligence surveillance program that gives the U.S. government authority to spy on foreigners located outside the country. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Nunes has said that more memos are coming.

No. 3 Official at Department of Justice Is Stepping Down