The third-highest ranking Justice Department official, Rachel Brand, is leaving her post, reports the New York Times.
Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country’s top law enforcement agency has been under attack by President Trump, according to two people briefed on her decision. 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.
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Brand holds an extensive portfolio overseeing the Department’s antitrust and civil rights divisions. The outgoing official was instrumental in extending the National Security Agency’s “warrantless surveillance program.”
Brand joins a growing list of key officials leaving the FBI/DOJ cabal amid Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe into the bureau’s Clinton email investigation.
Top Justice Department official, David Laufman, who helped oversee the Hillary Clinton email investigation resigned Wednesday, reported the Washington Post.
Former FBI special agent Josh Campbell recently quit the bureau to join CNN, citing increasing levels of criticism directed at the agency.
In a New York Times op-ed, Campbell wrote, “To be effective, the F.B.I. must be believed and must maintain the support of the public it serves. … These political attacks on the bureau must stop.”
“If those critics of the agency persuade the public that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted, they will also have succeeded in making our nation less safe,” Campbell added.
In what was a significant shakeup at the FBI, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepped down January 29th.
“McCabe, who served a brief stint as acting director of the bureau, was already expected to leave. He will stay on ‘terminal leave’ until he is eligible to retire with benefits in March,” reported CNBC.
According to the Washington Post, McCabe intended to resign from the FBI once he was eligible for full pension benefits in March.
In late January, James Rybicki, a top FBI official who was once chief of staff to James Comey and current Bureau Director Christopher Wray, resigned as well.