President Donald Trump's criticism Wednesday of the top two officials at the Department of Justice led to speculation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could resign their posts.
While both Sessions and Rosenstein expressed their commitment to their positions at a Thursday morning press conference, the headlines involving the pair have cast a spotlight on the third person in the Justice Department hierarchy, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.
Brand, the first woman to serve as associate attorney general, was nominated by Trump in February and confirmed by the Senate by a 52-46 margin in May. She was previously appointed to federal government positions by both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
During her confirmation hearing in March, during which she was questioned alongside Rosenstein, Brand said that she would “strive to undertake [her] role with integrity, independence and fidelity to constitutional principles and the rule of law.”
After growing up in Iowa, Brand attended the University of Minnesota, Morris, and Harvard Law School. She has since cycled between public and private positions during her career as a lawyer.
Following a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Brand worked at the law firm Cooper, Carvin and Rosenthal, according to her Senate questionnaire. She also worked on former North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign, according to a 1999 article in the Legal Times.
Brand's first executive branch experience, as detailed in the questionnaire, came at the age of 27 when 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. She left the position in 2007.
Brand's career then took her to the law firm Wilmer Hale -- a firm that gained recent notice as the former employer of special counsel Robert Mueller and additional attorneys on his team.
In 2011, Brand joined the Chamber of Commerce’s National Litigation Center as the chief counsel for regulatory litigation and in 2012 was confirmed by the Senate to join Obama's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
During her May testimony, Brand said she would be committed to defending the U.S., saying, “My client will be the United States, and my role will be to serve the public interest and the interest of justice, representing that client as best I can.”