The number three official at the Justice Department is stepping down after less than a year on the job, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times‘ two anonymous sources, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand is leaving to go back to the private sector.
Brand’s position at the Justice Department is important because she’s next in line behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel’s Russia investigation. If Rosenstein were to step down or be fired, a move that President Trump has refused to rule out, Brand would take over the top spot on the investigation.
Brand’s reported resignation comes as Trump has ramped up his attacks on the Justice Department and accused top officials of political bias. Just as he refused to rule out firing Rosenstein, he also ordered special counsel Robert Mueller fired last year, the New York Times reported, but later relented. Brand’s departure may shake an already uneasy relationship between the White House and the Justice Department.
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Inside the White House Program to Share America's Secrets
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does
- Column: The New Antisemitism
- The 13 Best New Books to Read in March
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time
Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com