Feb 9, 2018

DOJ's No. 3 is stepping down

Christopher Wray, Noel Francisco, Rachel Brand and Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Rachel Brand, Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department, is stepping down after nine months on the job, the NYT reports. Brand assumed the role in May 2017 and is leaving her role for a position as general counsel in the private sector, per NYT.

Why it matters: Brand was seen as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's successor. Rosenstein is currently overseeing Robert Mueller's investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. President Trump has called the investigation a "witch hunt" and has considered firing Rosenstein. At DOJ, Brand directly reported to Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions recused himself from overseeing the on-going investigation of Russian meddling in the election after it was revealed he met with Russian ambassadors in 2016.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Updated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.