Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Rachel Brand, the third-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department for nine months, plans to leave for a position in the private sector, the Department of Justice announced.
Brand, 44, has held the Senate-confirmed position since May 22. She would have been next in line to supervise special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation if Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, the department's No. 2 official, departed or recused himself. In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself on "any matters related in any way" to the 2016 presidential campaigns,
"Rachel Brand is a lawyer's lawyer," Sessions said in statement Friday. "She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, clerked at the Supreme Court, she worked at the White House, in academia, and has served in leadership positions spanning three administrations. As Associate Attorney General, 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."
Brand, the first woman to serve as associate attorney general, will become Walmart's executive vice president for global governance, the company said.
Before her current post, she served as one of five Senate-confirmed members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board appointed by President Barack Obama from 2012 to 2017.
Before that she worked outside of federal government as an associate professor of law at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School and a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C.
From 2003-2007, she worked in the Department of Justice, including President George W. Bush's assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy, which develops and implements the department's significant policy initiatives.
President Donald Trump criticized Rosenstein for supporting the renewal of a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign adviser.
"A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that," Trump said. When Trump was asked by a reporter whether he was then more likely to fire Rosenstein and whether he had confidence in him, Trump replied, "You figure that one out."