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Rachel Brand Stepping Down as Justice Department's No. 3

11 February 2018, 01:49 | Darnell Patrick

Rachel Brand Stepping Down as Justice Department's No. 3

Rachel Brand Stepping Down as Justice Department's No. 3

Gen. Rod Rosenstein, plans to leave her post after nine months on the job, the New York Times reported late Friday.

After just nine months on the job, Brand had become more and more uneasy with Trump's escalating attacks on the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which she and other law enforcement professionals feared was beginning to undermine the rule of law, according to sources familiar with her thinking. Panuccio replaces Rachel Brand, who stepped down unexpectedly to take what she called her "dream job". Her profile has risen in recent weeks amid speculation about the future of Rosenstein, who tapped Robert Mueller to lead an investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and contacts with the Trump campaign and who has been criticized by President Trump, who has also lashed out at Sessions for recusing himself from oversight of the Russian Federation probe.

The sudden departure follows months of unrest within the top echelons of federal law-enforcement in the United States, due in part to the increasingly fiery rhetoric from President Donald Trump and his allies, who have sought to cast a pall of suspicion over the DOJ and the FBI. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, himself repeatedly criticised by Trump, praised her "critical role in helping us accomplish our goals as a department".

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If Rosenstein were canned, Brand would have been put in charge and could have faced pressure from Team Trump to fire Mueller or shut down his investigation. I know the entire Department of Justice will miss her, but we join together in congratulating her on this new opportunity in the private sector. Vladeck explained. "In other words, Rosenstein is the crucial fulcrum between the political leadership of the Trump administration and the quasi-independent special counsel".

Ms. Brand's assistant, Currie Gunn, has also left the department. 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. She will be responsible for the organization's Legal, Global Ethics and Compliance and Global Investigation, Security, Aviation and Travel departments, along with her role as corporate secretary. 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. And she previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. She hasn't been publicly linked to the Russian Federation probe.



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