Resignation

Rachel Brand Resigns from Justice Department, as Would Any Sane Person in Her Position

Rachel Brand Resigns from Justice Department, as Would Any Sane Person in Her Position

There is no room for those who take their oath to uphold the Constitution seriously in the Trump Administration.

There is no room for those who take their oath to uphold the Constitution seriously in the Trump Administration.

By
Drew Levine
-
2/13/2018

On Friday, February 9, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand— the #3 official at the justice department, announced her resignation.  Her resignation occurs against the backdrop of what appears to be executive efforts to justify the termination of Rod Rosenstein— #2 at the department.  If Rosenstein were terminated, Brand would have inherited control over the Mueller investigation, and would have placed her in the unenviable position of being the gatekeeper to Trump were he to attempt to terminate the special counsel.

On Monday, NBC News reported that Brand had been unhappy with her job for months, and that she was fearful that overtaking the supervision of the Mueller probe would have suddenly thrust her into the political spotlight. 

Simply speaking, this is what any rational lawyer who values her reputation and desires to remain on the right side of history would do, though the nation suffers when one of the few remaining “adults in the room” leaves the scene. 

Everyone who has been in any significant position with respect to the probe, or the law enforcement efforts that have influenced it, has earned the President’s direct ire (as it was with James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Andrew McCabe, to name a few).  

Were Brand to remain, she would likely be the subject of a presidential solicitation of personal loyalty as were Comey, Rosenstein, and McCabe.  More likely than not, she would also ultimately be the subject of a Twitter-tantrum when she refused to submit to the whims of the president.  Most importantly, it would have placed her at risk of being caught up in any obstruction of justice theory that Robert Mueller may be pursuing. 

Given Brand’s long association with the Justice Department, and her relatively young age, her resignation is a remarkable development.  In normal circumstances, such a lofty position in the Justice Department would be a dream-come-true for any young lawyer interested in public service.  Not so under President Trump.  

The contempt for law, inherent chaos, and loyalty-over-principle style of the Trump presidency makes it next to impossible for anyone to operate ethically within his sphere of influence, let alone for those who actually understand the dictates of the Constitution and the oath they swore to uphold it.    

Trump, undoubtedly, will want to fill Brand’s vacancy and any vacancies to come with loyalists.  He may be hard-pressed to find anybody to fit the bill without skeletons in the closet.  Such sycophancy comes with a price. 

Drew Levine

Drew Levine is a co-founder of Statesmith.com. He's also a practicing attorney, a yoga instructor, and an enormous Star Wars nerd.

Drew Levine

Drew Levine is a co-founder of Statesmith.com. He's also a practicing attorney, a yoga instructor, and an enormous Star Wars nerd.