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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

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Hundreds of Biden staffers receive COVID vaccine

Screenshots of an email inviting White House staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, obtained by Alayna Treene/Axios

A week into the job, President Biden's White House medical team has administered the coronavirus vaccine to several hundred staffers — and aims to vaccinate all in-person staff over the next few weeks, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The new administration is ramping up steps to protect President Biden and all staff working inside the White House complex. The administration is also requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Leon Black clock strikes midnight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leon Black is "retiring" as CEO of Apollo Global Management, the alternative investment giant he has led since co-founding it in 1990. But he is not making a full break, as Black will remain chair of Apollo's board of directors.

Why it matters: This is the culmination of 18 months of head-in-the-sand obfuscation of Black's dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

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