Brand says she's leaving DOJ because she couldn't pass up job opportunity

Brand says she's leaving DOJ because she couldn't pass up job opportunity
© Greg Nash

Outgoing Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said Thursday that she would have been "very happy to stay" at the Department of Justice (DOJ) but was offered an opportunity in the private sector she couldn't pass up. 

Brand is stepping down from the No. 3 post at DOJ after nine months on the job to become Walmart's executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary. 

"Sometimes, something comes up unexpectedly and you just can’t pass it up," Brand told members of the Federalist Society at a luncheon in Washington, according to The National Law Journal. "That’s all there is to it."

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Brand's comments appeared to dismiss reports that she had decided to leave the DOJ amid concerns that she would be asked to oversee the criminal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

That probe, which is being conducted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, is currently overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Graham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks MORE. He took over the investigation after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump MORE recused himself from the matter last year.

As the No. 3 official at the department, Brand would be next in line to take over the probe if Rosenstein were to be relieved of the responsibility.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE has repeatedly criticized Rosenstein's handling of the probe, particularly his decision to appoint a special counsel, prompting speculation that the president could move to fire the deputy attorney general. 

The White House has sought to quell rumors that Trump is considering ousting Rosenstein.