Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand — the third-ranking official at the Justice Department — is leaving the department after less than a year on the job, according to a senior Justice Department official.
The official did not know when Brand would be leaving, but told BuzzFeed News that she had been offered a job in the private sector. The New York Times first reported Friday that Brand is stepping down.
Brand is the number three official at the Justice Department, but she is next in line to take on oversight of the special counsel investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official currently in charge, left or was fired.
Brand has kept a low profile at the department since she was confirmed in May. She hasn’t been publicly linked to the Russia probe. The associate attorney general traditionally is in charge of managing the day-to-day operations at the department. Her portfolio has included hate crimes prosecutions, tribal justice issues, and deregulation.
Brand’s departure would mean that Solicitor General Noel Francisco would become the next highest-ranking official in line to take over the Russia probe, according to an internal DOJ succession memo adopted by former attorney general Loretta Lynch in November 2016 that was obtained by government watchdog group American Oversight via a Freedom of Information Act request.
A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.