There is no area in American government that’s safe from the onslaught of the Trump administration, including the guardians of law and order at the Justice Department. The president has rained down relentless attacks on the nation’s law enforcement agencies, accusing the agencies of bias against him and already having taken the drastic step of abruptly firing the head of the FBI last year because he didn’t like how he was doing his job.
Now, although information about why exactly she’s made the move is initially scarce, there’s been another political casualty among the ranks of the justice officials who have been on the receiving end of the president’s attacks.
The number three official at the FBI, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, will be leaving, according to The New York Times. According to the publication, Brand — who has served in the past three presidential administrations — will be leaving government to take a job as a general counsel in the private sector.
Although her name hasn’t been quite as high profile as those of others at the department, Brand stood in line to replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, should he be fired by the president.
Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller after having taken over leadership of the Russia investigation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Connected to that, the president has had the Deputy AG under scrutiny for some time, reporting recently having come out that he’d even allegedly pressed him along the same lines as he’d pressed FBI Director James Comey, asking Rosenstein for loyalty.
Rosenstein was also among the justice officials targeted by the recently released “Nunes memo,” prepared and released by the long disgraced Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, which contained allegations of abuse of surveillance power in the nation’s justice system that implicated Rosenstein.
It’s not even as though the Nunes memo is credible, though, with both Democrats and the FBI having claimed that there are grave omissions of fact that make the document much less reliable than Republicans claim it to be.
Even still, it’s been touted by the president and his allies as proof that the Russia investigation is a sham, although the surveillance that was supposedly carried out under corrupt pretenses isn’t the only reason that the Russia investigation was ever started in the first place — as the Nunes memo itself notes.
The Nunes memo, via public statements from the Trump team like one of the president’s tweets on February 3, has cast a shadow over Deputy AG Rosenstein, prompting more questions about if his departure will be imminent.
For now, the questions about Rosenstein’s possible imminent departure remain just that — questions.
Brand, besides standing in line to replace Rosenstein should he lose his job, also worked on initiatives at the Justice Department like getting Congress to extend the National Security Agency’s “warrantless surveillance program” and combating human trafficking.
Brand is far from the only high profile official to vacate their position in the Trump administration, with the administration having literally set a record for the senior staff departure rate in the first year.
The president lost figures ranging from a Cabinet secretary to a press secretary in his first year as he struggled to essentially not run the country into the ground.
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