Rachel Brand, 3rd ranking official at Justice Dept., is stepping down
10 February, 2018, 06:00 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
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. Her departure was first reported by the New York Times.
The department said Brand will be leaving her post in the coming weeks.
Last week, Brand headed up an all-day summit on human trafficking at the Justice Department where she told a packed room that "combatting this evil is one of our top priorities at the Justice Department". Her resignation comes at a moment of intense political scrutiny for the department, including some harsh criticism from President Trump. Brand's assistant has also left the Justice Department.
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.
3 official at the Justice Department, is stepping down after less than nine months in the job, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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On Feb. 2, just hours before Trump approved the release of the Republican memo, Sessions offered praise for Rosenstein, the department's No. 2 official, and Brand, saying they "represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department". That process would be certain to raise questions from lawmakers about the nominee's willingness to remain independent from the Trump administration once in office, including the ability to withstand any pressure to dismiss the special counsel if asked to do so by the White House.
In an op-ed in The Washington Post past year, Ms. Brand argued that the law "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security" and that law enforcement officers would be "at risk" without it. Congress voted to extend that law, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, last month.
Ms. Brand, who became the associate attorney general in May, will become the global governance director at Walmart, the company's top legal position, according to people briefed on her move. The measure passed, and Trump signed it into law in January. She supervised the department's civil, antitrust and environmental divisions, among others.
A Justice Department official said that Jesse Panuccio, the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General, will temporarily take over Brand's job until a replacement is named.
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