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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand is next in line if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recuses himself from the Russia probe — which he privately admitted he may need to do since he may need to serve as a witness on James Comey's firing.

It's "only a matter of time" before this becomes Brand's responsibility, says Matt Miller, justice and security analyst for MSNBC and former DOJ.

What it means: Whoever serves in this role makes decisions about resources for Special Counsel Bob Mueller's probe into Trump-Russia and has a final say over whether a prosecution can ultimately take place. That probe's significance can't be stressed enough — it just expanded to include an investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice, potential financial crimes of Trump associates, and Jared Kushner's business dealings.

Her resume, via the Washington Post:

  • A former intern of Chuck Grassley's, she graduated from University of Minnesota at Morris and Harvard Law, where she was a member of the Federalist Society.
  • She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and worked for the firm Cooper, Carver & Rosenthal.
  • Later she served in George W. Bush's DOJ in the Office of Legal Policy and advised Obama on privacy and civil liberties on the government's surveillance programs, and in between spent time at WilmerHale and the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.
  • She currently manages lawyers at the DOJ litigating on civil rights, policing, and antitrust issues, including the travel ban.

Her former colleagues give ringing reviews: Jamie Gorelick, who worked with her at WilmerHale and is now Jared Kushner's lawyer," called her "very smart and very thoughtful..." Jack Goldsmith, who worked with her in the Office of Legal Counsel, said she "has deep knowledge of the department, is extremely bright, well organized and a good manager, excellent judgment."

But Dems don't like her "pro-corporate" work, which they fear makes her current role as associate attorney general in charge of antitrust issues and civil rights particularly questionable. No Democrats voted "yay" for Brand's confirmation.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A pricetag of $500-$555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.

2 hours ago - World

U.S. presses Gulf countries to help resolve Sudan coup crisis

Jake Sullivan briefs the press. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Biden administration has asked its partners in the Gulf and elsewhere to press the Sudanese generals who carried out a coup on Monday to release captives including Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and to reinstate the civilian government, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has limited influence over coup leader Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and other military leaders, many of whom have close ties to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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