Third-highest ranking Justice Department official is resigning

Rachel Brand, No. 3 official at DOJ, is stepping down

Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country's top law enforcement agency has been under attack by President Trump, according to two people briefed on her decision.

In a statement, Brand said she is proud of the department's accomplishments during her short time there.

From 2012 to 2017, Brand filled a Republican seat on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a panel that advises the president and other top officials about counterterrorism policy.

A political appointee, Brand had left private practice to join the Trump administration, but had worked in political positions under prior administrations. Speaking of FISA warrants - following the release of a memo that alleged the Federal Bureau of Investigation overstepped its bounds in using surveillance methods and that Rosenstein agreed to a FISA application to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page, Trump has implied he might fire Rosenstein.

The attacks have escalated in recent weeks as Republicans in Congress have criticized 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.

'The men and women of the Department of Justice impress me every day, ' Brand said, also in the statement.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the "quality and leadership" of Brand and Rosenstein at a Justice Department event last week that focused on human trafficking, which was one of her stated priorities.

Trump's broadsides have strained morale at the institution, which has always been praised for its independence from the White House.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been repeatedly criticized by Trump.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post previous year, Ms. Brand argued that the law "has been valuable and effective in protecting the nation's security" and that law enforcement officers would be "at risk" without it. Congress voted to extend that law, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, last month. The law was reauthorized in January. She has been seen as a rising star within the conservative legal world.

Brand oversees the Justice Department's civil, antitrust, tax and environmental and natural resources divisions.

And her departure leaves another vacancy at the Justice Department, which still lacks Senate-confirmed leaders over many of its most important divisions.

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