Amidst the White House personnel tumult of the last week, the resignation of Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand almost got buried in the news, if only because no domestic violence accusations were attached to her departure.
Arguably Brand’s exit is the most significant of the decampments since as the number three official in the Justice Department she was next in line to oversee the investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia being conducted by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
With rumors swirling around Washington DC about how the Nunes memo is a pretext for making the changes in the Justice Department that would then allow Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and replace him with someone who would follow his orders to get rid of Mueller, that’s not the most comfortable position to be in right now.
When Brand announced last week that she would be leaving her job to take a position as executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary for Walmart, she gave no reason for wanting to exit the public sector for private enterprise.
Now, however, NBC News is reporting that multiple sources close to Brand are saying her unhappiness in her Justice Department role has been simmering for months. Her frustration with the job stems from a fear that she’d be put in charge of oversight of the Russia investigation, as well as disgruntlement with the slow pace of filling the multiple vacancies within the Department.
According to NBC:
“As far back as last fall, Brand had expressed to friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, especially as many key positions under her jurisdiction had still not been filled with permanent, Senate-confirmed officials.”
“Four of the 13 divisions overseen by the associate attorney general remain unfilled, including the civil rights division and the civil division, over one year into the Trump administration.”
As someone who is content to stay out of the public spotlight, Brand also told her friends that she did not relish the idea of being in the center of a media storm of attention.
As a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former clerk at The Supreme Court, Brand is, as her boss Jeff Sessions called her, “a lawyer’s lawyer.” While she said in her statement announcing her departure that “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish over my time here,” she apparently felt that the road ahead in the Justice Department would consist of work she would not have occasion to boast about.