No. 3 Official at the Justice Department Is Stepping Down

Rachel Brand, No. 3 official at DOJ, is stepping down

The US Justice Department's third-ranking official, Rachel Brand, will resign and take a senior job at Walmart Inc, with sources familiar with her decision saying on Friday that she had grown increasingly uncomfortable with President Donald Trump's attacks on her department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Federalist Society just announced Friday that Brand, as associate attorney general, is scheduled to speak next week at a Washington chapter lunch.

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

The New York Times reported that Brand was leaving for a job as general counsel in the private sector.

The attacks have escalated in recent weeks as Republicans in Congress have criticized the handling by the Justice Department, FBI and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court of warrants for surveillance of a Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page, who had ties to Russian Federation. Spokespeople for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to TPM's inquiry about the report. 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. "She will always remain part of the Department of Justice family".

Rosenstein oversees Mueller's investigation because Sessions recused himself from the matter past year.

Last summer on Twitter, Trump called Sessions "beleaguered" and "very weak, and at a news conference in the Rose Garden said he was "disappointed in Sessions".

She had recently pushed Congress to renew a foreign intelligence surveillance program that gives the US government authority to spy on foreigners located outside the country. The measure passed, and Trump signed it into law in January.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently praised Brand and his second-in-command, Rod Rosenstein, before the Devin Nunes memo was released on Friday.

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.

She helped lead the department's effort to extend a law that authorizes the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.

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