Number Three Official at Justice Dept. Out

Ismael LynchFeb 11, 2018

Still, that she would leave after just nine months in the administration suggests that conflict has destabilized the upper echelons of the Justice Department.

Ms. Brand's profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel's inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the move ahead of an official announcement expected next week.

Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand is planning to step down from her position.

As associate attorney general, Brand would have been next to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, in the absence of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.

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.

She became associate attorney general in May 2017, the same month that Mueller was placed in charge of the Russian Federation probe.

Brand's resignation is the latest sign of turmoil at US law enforcement agencies, which have come under sustained attack by Trump and his Republican allies in recent months.

Brand, who has served in the last three administrations as a political appointee and is widely respected, has mostly managed to stay out of the spotlight amid the president's Twitter rampages.

Trump also has criticised Sessions for recusing himself.

From 2012 to 2017, Brand filled a Republican seat on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a panel that advises the president and other top officials about counterterrorism policy.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

In a statement, Brand defended her department, saying, "The men and women of the Department of Justice impress me every day". Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI who received some of the fiercest of Trump's attacks, was reportedly pushed out of the bureau last week.

She had recently pushed Congress to renew a foreign intelligence surveillance program that gives the USA government authority to spy on foreigners located outside the country. She has been seen as a rising star within the conservative legal world.

Faulkner began the interview by asking whether Trump - who told reporters Friday that the allegations were "very sad" while reminding his audience that Porter "says he's innocent" - deserves "credit" for addressing the situation head on.

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