Justice Department's third-highest ranking official resigns

Justice Department's third-highest ranking official resigns

If Trump followed through on firing Rosenstein, Brand would take over responsibility for Mueller's expanding probe.

Her role at the Justice Department was doubly important because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation, given his role with the Trump campaign.

Officially, Brand's departure is not related to the controversies that have roiled the Department at the highest levels.

Rachel Brand, associate attorney general of the Justice Department and third in command behind Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, is stepping down, The New York Times reported Friday afternoon.

Brand, a Harvard Law School graduate who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, is a conservative who first served in the department under President George W. Bush. She is leaving for an attractive offer in the private sector, according to the person.

Brand, who's the department's No. 3 as associate attorney general, has come into the public spotlight in recent weeks since she's the most senior official under Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Neither Brand nor a justice department spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Trump also has criticized Sessions for recusing himself.

Brand was confirmed just last May after being nominated for the position by President Donald Trump.

The President's harsh rebukes came in light of the release of a controversial GOP-penned memo that alleges that Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials used unverified information to obtain a surveillance warrant of ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Her office oversees the Antitrust Division, the Civil Division, the Environment and Natural Resources Division, the Tax Division, the Office of Justice Programs, the Community Oriented Policing Services, the Community Relations Service, the Office of Dispute Resolution, the Office of Violence Against Women, the Office of Information and Privacy, the Executive Office for United States Trustees and the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission.

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