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Justice official denies she’s leaving over Mueller probe

Justice official denies she’s leaving over Mueller probe
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Rachel Brand, the former associate attorney general at the Justice Department (DOJ), refuted reports saying she left the department for fear she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation.

“Anyone who actually knows me knows that had nothing to do with my departure,” Brand told Fox News on Tuesday.

“I never had any reason to think that the Mueller probe would come to me, and even if it had, it has nothing to do with why I left the department,” Brand said. “This was about seizing an opportunity, not about leaving DOJ.”

The No. 3 Justice Department official announced earlier in February that she was stepping down from her position to work for Walmart as executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary. 

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NBC News reported last week that she was leaving the Justice Department for fear that Trump might fire Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE —  the No. 2 official at the DOJ, who is overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s probe — leaving her to take over the investigation.

Last week, Brand said she would have been “very happy to stay” at the Justice Department but she couldn’t pass up the private sector opportunity she received.

“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.”

“These kind of jobs come along maybe once in a career, and when they come along it might not be the perfect timing for you, but you have to take the opportunity when it comes,” Brand told Fox News.

In a statement to The Hill, the DOJ pushed back on reports that she was leaving because she didn’t want to take over the investigation.

“It is clear that these anonymous sources have never met Rachel Brand let alone know her thinking. All of this is false and frankly ridiculous,” spokeswoman Sarah Flores said.