Rachel Brand, No. 3 US Justice Department official, stepping down amid turmoil

Trump won't say whether he's planning to fire Rosenstein

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.

Rachel Brand, the third-ranking official at the Justice Department, will step down from the job, NBC News reported Friday.

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.

With Brand's departure, Solicitor General Noel Francisco - who grew up in Oswego and graduated from Oswego High School - is next in line at the Justice Department to oversee the Russian Federation investigation after Rosenstein.

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", McMillon said. A White House spokesman later said there were no plans to do so.

Brand will apparently become Walmart's head of global corporate governance, which includes legal and policy responsibilities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

Brand's decision to leave the DOJ and return to work in the private sector is particularly interesting because had she stayed with the Justice Department, she could have been in line to assume a key role in the Trump-Russia investigation. She will always remain a part of the Department of Justice family.

Trump has also publicly attacked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is a component of the Justice Department. That memo states that the person next in line is Solicitor General Noel Francisco. When controversy over Sessions and Rosenstein's future brewed last summer, some speculated she might, at least temporarily, take the reins at the Justice Department.

Unlike her two immediate superiors, Sessions and Rosenstein, Brand has largely avoided the public ire of President Donald Trump, who has not criticized her conduct in his not-uncommon pronouncements about conduct at DOJ.

The department said Brand will be leaving her post in the coming weeks. He earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University and later graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2006.

He noted, "the more officials who have to be forced out before the president can achieve a particular result, the greater the political costs".

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