By Steve Neavling
Fearing she would be tapped to oversee the special counsel investigation of Donald Trump and Russia, the Justice Department’s third in command decided to step down and avoid the president’s escalating attacks on the DOJ and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, who is taking a job as an executive at Walmart, was already frustrated with mounting, unfilled vacancies under the Trump administration, according to multiple people close to Brand, NBC News reports.
Since Brand was next in line to oversee the widening special investigation, she became increasingly worried when President Trump began publicly criticizing the DOJ’s second in command, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In May, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Kremlin had any ties with Trump’s campaign. Since then, Rosenstein has been the target of Trump’s relentless criticism in what has become a campaign to undermine confidence in the department overseeing the investigation.
While announcing her departure, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation, called Brand a “lawyer’s lawyer.”
Brand said in a statement, “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over my time here.”