A high-ranking official in the Department of Justice, Rachel Brand, has announced she’s stepping down after nine months in office.
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. Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein.
Such a move could have put her in charge of the special counsel and, by extension, left her in the cross hairs of the president.
Ms. Brand, who became the associate attorney general in May 2017, is leaving for a job as general counsel in the private sector. She has held politically appointed positions at the Justice Department over the past three presidential administrations.
Brand oversees the civil division, the civil rights division and the antitrust division at Justice, and “helped lead the department’s effort to extend a law that authorizes the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.” If Rosenstein goes, Brand would have been the one Trump would look to to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, should he be unable to control his impulses and finally try to do it.