Rachel Brand, Third Ranking at DOJ, Resigns

Yet another top Trump administration official has resigned.

Yet another top Trump administration official has resigned.

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, will become the global governance director at Walmart, the company’s top legal position, according to people briefed on her move. She has held politically appointed positions in the past three presidential administrations.

There’s no indication in the story that the President directly pressured her to quit. Indeed, since she didn’t currently have any ties to the Russia investigation, I doubt she was on his radar screen. But the current political environment has to make it extremely unsatisfying to work at the highest levels of government—let alone at the Justice Department. Moving to the private sector for what one presumes is something like a tenfold salary increase seems like a no-brainer for someone who isn’t a Trump loyalist.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    If I had to guess, Brand, seeing the way things were going, has probably had it in mind to leave the DOJ for the past year. A very lucrative opportunity presented itself, so she grabbed it.

    Wise move.




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  2. gVOR08 says:

    This may be all above board, a good career move by someone who saw no need to be a martyr. It does leave Noel Francisco as the new number three, who might step up to supervising Mueller if Rosenstein leaves one way or another. Ted Cruz said of Francisco, “He’s a brilliant lawyer and a principled conservative.” He clerked for Scalia. He’s been appointed by Republicans. He’s on the board of Lumen Christi, which works “toward leavening American higher education with future leaders better educated and formed in Catholic faith and thought.” He worked with McGhan. In private practice he’s argued for Republican and conservative causes including for McDonnell in his bribery case and against the O’care contraception coverage mandate. He’s expressed a wildly expansive view of executive privilege.

    If this is a slow motion Saturday Night Massacre, Francisco seems perfectly cast for the Robert Bork role.




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  3. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Moving to the private sector for what one presumes is something like a tenfold salary increase seems like a no-brainer for someone who isn’t a Trump loyalist.

    Boom!
    [drops mike, walks off stage]




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  4. al-Ameda says:

    @CSK:

    If I had to guess, Brand, seeing the way things were going, has probably had it in mind to leave the DOJ for the past year. A very lucrative opportunity presented itself, so she grabbed it.

    Exactly as I saw it.

    She’s getting out before there’s so much excrement hitting the fan that a hazmat team has to be called in to monitor the DOJ and1600 Pennsylvania Avenue premises before careers can be safely transported to the morgue.




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