Justice Department's No. 3 official to resign

Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand

Other sources said Brand has chafed for months at the limits of her post at DOJ.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation inquiry.

Rachel Brand, associate attorney general in the Department of Justice, is stepping down from her position, Fox News has confirmed. Mr. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Mr. Rosenstein.

Trump, who has openly lamented his inability to influence justice department decisions, has stepped up his criticism in recent weeks, fueled by the release of a politically explosive memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance powers in the Russian Federation investigation.

The New York Times reports that Brand is leaving federal service to take a job as a general counsel in the private sector, a far more lucrative prospect than government work.

The Justice Department has yet to comment on her resignation, or who could take her place.

Currie Gunn, Brand's assistant, has also left the department, according to The Times.

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Walmart said in a statement Friday that Brand would be the company's "Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary".

Rachel Brand is planning to step down at a time of unprecedented turmoil at the agency.

When asked if he was considering firing Rosenstein after the memo's release last Friday, Trump said, "You figure that one out".

The department is also facing a major backlog on leadership positions that still need confirmation by the US Senate. Jeff Sessions, who sits at the top of the department, previously recused himself from the probe.

Both Rosenstein and Sessions have become the subjects of Trump's ire in connection with the probe. "I've seen firsthand his commitment to the rule of law and to keeping the American people safe".

Brand's profile rose since she was next in line to assume the position of Deputy Attorney General now held by Rod Rosenstein. That job would now fall to the solicitor general, Noel Francisco. As one of five Senate-confirmed members of the panel, she provided advice and oversight for US counter-terrorism agencies. "She will always remain a part of the Department of Justice family", Sessions said in a statement. He has since been an occasional target of Trump's anger over the investigation. Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI who received some of the fiercest of Trump's attacks, was reportedly pushed out of the bureau last week. She helped lead the department's effort to extend a law that authorizes the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.

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