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No. 3 Official at Justice Department to Resign

No. 3 Official at Justice Department to Resign

The US Justice Department's third-ranking official, Rachel Brand, will resign and take a senior job at Walmart Inc, with sources familiar with her decision saying on Friday that she had grown increasingly uncomfortable with President Donald Trump's attacks on her department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Her resignation was first reported by the New York Times.

Brand will leave her position 'in the coming weeks, ' the statement said.

Rachel Brand on Capitol Hill in 2017.

On Feb. 2, just hours before Trump approved the release of the Republican memo, Sessions offered praise for Rosenstein, the department's No. 2 official, and Brand, saying they "represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department".

"She has the gravitas of being the third ranking official in the Department of Justice, but also the subject matter expertise on Section 702 from her time serving on the bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board", Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, who leads the department's Office of Legislative Affairs, told CNN last month.

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The attacks have escalated in recent weeks as Republicans in Congress have criticised the handling by the Justice Department, FBI and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court of warrants for surveillance of a Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page, who had ties to Russian Federation.

But the White House denied that there would be any changes made at the Justice Department later that evening. "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", Attorney General Jeff Sessions says in a statement.

Trump's broadsides have strained morale at the institution, which has always been praised for its independence from the White House. Trump admitted to the New York Times a year ago that he would not have picked Sessions as his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself.

Brand recently pushed Congress to renew a foreign intelligence surveillance program that gives the U.S. government authority to spy on foreigners located outside the country. The law was reauthorized in January.

And her departure leaves another vacancy at the Justice Department, which still lacks Senate-confirmed leaders over many of its most important divisions. Walmart sought Brand to be head of global corporate governance at the retail giant, a position Gorelick said has legal and policy responsibilities that will cater to her strengths.


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