US Justice Department's top official stepping down


Bureaucratic inaction and the prospect of adopting the intensely politicized Russian Federation investigation were among the reasons Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand quit her high-ranking position at the Justice Department, NBC News reported Monday. The New York Times first reported the news prior to the official announcement. She has accepted a position as Walmart's executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary, in which she will report directly to the company's President and CEO Doug McMillon.

She now oversees 13 divisions, including the department's civil, civil rights and antitrust divisions.

Trump has called the probe a 'witch hunt, ' fired Comey, blasted Federal Bureau of Investigation lovers who exchanged anti-Trump texts, and taunted former deputy Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe, while also occasionally going after attorney general Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein online. Key vacancies in the Justice Department, unfilled more than one year into the Trump administration, exacerbated Brand's discontentment in her position. As the Justice Department's #3 official, Ms. Brand admirably led the litigating divisions on the civil side of the department.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores shot back: 'It is clear these anonymous sources have never met Rachel Brand let alone know her thinking.

Trump had hinted to reporters that he might fire Rosenstein after reading the controversial memo written by Rep. Devin Nunes. "As Associate Attorney General, she has played a critical role in helping us accomplish our goals as a Department - taking on human trafficking, protecting free speech on campus, and fighting sexual harassment in public housing". But because officials in "acting" capacities do not count in the Justice Department order of succession, it's unclear if Panuccio would have the authority to fire Mueller. They are both Trump appointees.

This article has been updated to include confirmation from the Department of Justice, details from a department press release and information about Rachel Brand's likely temporary replacement. As associate attorney general, Brand oversaw thousands of attorneys and professionals across the department's civil law divisions, including antitrust, tax and environment and natural resources.