Rachel Brand, 3rd ranking official at Justice Dept., is stepping down

Rachel Brand, No. 3 official at DOJ, is stepping down

The Times report cites two sources briefed on the matter. According to CBS News, the department says the associate attorney general will be leaving "in the coming weeks".

Brand attracted interest because of her potential to assume a key role in the Trump-Russia investigation.

Brand, who became Associate Attorney General in May, has kept a relatively low profile and, unlike other top officials, has not been personally targeted by Trump. In addition to her third in command position she's now vacating, Rachel worked in the Office of Legal policy at the DOJ under the second Bush administration and then served on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board under the Obama administration.

When Trump was asked by a reporter whether he was then more likely to fire Rosenstein and whether he had confidence in him, Trump replied "you figure that one out". She will reportedly be leaving after serving nine months at the department for a general counsel job in the private sector.

Neither Brand nor a justice department spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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"Rachel has shown real leadership over many important divisions at the department", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday night in which he congratulated Brand. The memo alleged the Federal Bureau of Investigation abused its power regarding surveillance methods, and said Rosenstein signed off on at least one FISA application of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

But the White House denied that there would be any changes made at the Justice Department later that evening. And he has blasted his attorney general for recusing himself in the Russian Federation investigation and turning it over to Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller as special counsel. Trump also has criticized Sessions for recusing himself.

Brand has kept a very low profile at the department, but in December she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post defending the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the National Security Agency to collect foreign intelligence on US soil without individualized warrants. The measure passed, and Trump signed it into law in January.

She helped lead the department's effort to extend a law that authorizes the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program. She was previously President George W. Bush's assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy, which develops and implements the department's significant policy initiatives.

Brand oversees the Justice Department's civil, antitrust, tax and environmental and natural resources divisions.

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