Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand will oversee the Department of Justice probe into Russia meddling in U.S. elections if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recuses himself from the investigation, Axios reported Friday.
Rosenstein may be a witness in the probe regarding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Brand would make decisions regarding resources for the special counsel probe and would make the final decision about whether a prosecution would take place.
It's "only a matter of time before Rachel Brand is the acting attorney general for purposes of this investigation," tweeted Matt Miller, MSNBC justice and security analyst and former Justice Department spokesman.
Brand, a former intern for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. In addition, she worked in the Office of Legal Policy under former President George W. Bush and advised former President Barack Obama on privacy and civil liberties regarding the government's surveillance programs, the article explained.
Brand's resume includes work at private law firms including WilmerHale, the firm former FBI Director Robert Mueller left when he became special counsel in the Russia probe. Attorneys at WilmerHale also represent family members of President Donald Trump, according to Politico.
Former WilmerHale colleague Jamie Gorelick, who now represents Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, described Brand as "very smart and very thoughtful." Jack Goldsmith, who worked with her in the Office of Legal Counsel, also praised Brand.
"(Brand) has deep knowledge of the department, is extremely bright, well organized and a good manager — excellent judgment," Goldsmith said.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., criticized her for her "pro-corporate" work at the time of her confirmation last month, and other Democrats feared it might interfere with her duties on antitrust and civil rights issues at the Justice Department. No Democrat voted in favor of her confirmation.
Mueller's probe recently expanded to include obstruction of justice charges against Trump, possible financial crimes of the president's associates and Kushner's business dealings.
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