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A former Central Intelligence Agency official who was law school classmates with newly-resigned Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand explained to an MSNBC panel Friday afternoon that her departure may precede that of the deputy attorney general.

'I know the entire Department of Justice will miss her, but we join together in congratulating her on this new opportunity in the private sector, ' Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, in the statement.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been repeatedly criticized by Trump.

Sessions earlier this month praised Brand for her service, thanking her for what he called her "strong leadership".

Brand, a Harvard Law School graduate who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, is a conservative who first served in the department under President George W. Bush.

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No immediate reason for Brand's and her assistant, Currie Gunn, decision to leave was forthcoming. He said he wouldn't have appointed Sessions attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself from the Russian Federation probe. "Rod's had 27 years in the department, Rachel's had a number of years in the department previously, so they both represent the kind of quality and leadership we want in the department", Sessions said.

Rachel Brand, the third-ranking official at the Justice Department, is expected to resign Friday. And questions over whether Trump would fire Rosenstein intensified last week when a memo, spearheaded by GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, was publicly released.

The Department of Justice's third-ranking official is planning to step down at a time of turmoil in the agency.

Brand, who now oversees the department's civil rights and antitrust divisions, has become embroiled in the scandal, as she is among a number of senior officials who urged Trump to not declassify the four-page memo, citing "grave concerns" about its accuracy.

Most recently, in late January, Andrew McCabe - the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - announced that he will be stepping down from his post after months of intense criticism from Trump.


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