Rachel Brand, Third Ranking at DOJ, Resigns

Pauline Gross
February 11, 2018

Brand, who joined the department in May 2017 as associate attorney general, will take a new position as global governance director at Walmart, The Times reported.

Brand is the number three official at the Justice Department, but she is next in line to take on oversight of the special counsel investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official now in charge, left or was sacked.

She was next in line behind to oversee the special counsel investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election after Mr. Sessions recused himself.

Governor Rick Scott's former general counsel, Jesse Panuccio, is returning to his role as acting Associate Attorney General at the federal Department of Justice, federal officials confirmed late Friday.

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3 official at the Justice Department, is stepping down after less than nine months in the job. And when I asked her to take the lead in the Department's efforts on Section 702 re-authorization, she made this her top priority and combined her expertise and gravitas to help pass legislation keeping this crucial national security tool.

On February 2, just hours before Trump approved the memo's release, Sessions praised Rosenstein and Brand, saying they "represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department". A New York Times report published in January indicated that the president dispatched a White House lawyer to convince Sessions not to recuse. As one of five Senate-confirmed members of the panel, she provided advice and oversight for USA counter-terrorism agencies.

But her departure raises the possibility that her role could be filled by a Trump partisan who may end up playing an essential role in the Russian Federation investigation. But she had a relatively small staff and a portfolio of issues that focused mostly on civil litigation, civil rights and other issues. At that event, Mr. Sessions thanked her for her "strong leadership as our third in command at the department".

Ms. Brand's assistant, Currie Gunn, has also left the department. As Associate Attorney General, Brand oversaw thousands of attorneys and professionals across the department's civil law divisions, including Antitrust, Tax and Environment and Natural Resources. She was publicly active in her role as recently as last week, when she keynoted a summit on human trafficking in Washington, DC.

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