A source familiar with the matter confirms that Rachel Brand, associate attorney general and number three in command at the Justice Department, will be soon stepping down with only nine months on the job after receiving another offer of employment.
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Her pending departure comes as the agency faces criticism after a controversial memo authored by the Republican staff on the House Intelligence Committee was released alleging abuses of government surveillance powers at the FBI and Justice Department.
Brand remains on the job at DOJ, but has accepted a job as general counsel at a Fortune 50 company.
Brand has kept largely a low profile at DOJ and is known primarily pushing for the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. She could have become more prominent if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had recused himself from the Robert Mueller special counsel probe.
Brand would likely have taken over since Attorney General Jeff Session has recused himself from the investigation.
Brand is also the first woman to serve as associate attorney general. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both previously appointed her to federal government positions.
She grew up in Iowa and attended the University of Minnesota, Morris and graduated from Harvard Law School.
She once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and also once worked on former North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign, according to a 1999 article in the Legal Times.
Her executive branch experience came after she joined the Bush administration, first as an assistant counsel under Alberto Gonzales, then later as the principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy, where she focused on issues related to the war on terror.
In 2005, she was confirmed by the Senate as the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy, a position she left two years later.
She then went to work for the law firm Wilmer Hale — a firm that also once employed Mueller and other attorneys on his team.
In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called Brand "a lawyer’s lawyer".
"Rachel has shown real leadership over many important divisions at the Department," he said. "I know the entire Department of Justice will miss her, but we join together in congratulating her on this new opportunity in the private sector. She will always remain a part of the Department of Justice family.”