When Rachel Brand was first nominated as the United States Associate Attorney General in February, she most likely didn’t expect she’d take over one of the most critical investigations in American political history.
But on Friday, Brand was thrust into the national spotlight after ABC News reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is thinking about recusing himself from the special counsel’s probe, a move which would make Brand, the No. 3 person at the Department of Justice, in charge of the investigation.
Here are five things to know about the relatively unknown lawyer poised to become one of the most influential people in Washington:
1. Senate Democrats opposed her nomination
Brand was confirmed on a party-line Senate vote of 52 to 46. Just for reference, Rosenstein enjoyed overwheling bipartisan support with a 94 to 6 vote. Democrats weren’t too happy about her time as top lawyer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where critics say she favored Big Business over the little guy. Vermont senator Pat Leahy declared that Brand “carries a heavily skewed, pro-corporate agenda that would do further harm to the Justice Department and its independence.” (Brand disputed that allegation.)
2. She’s can milk a cow
Raised in Iowa, Brand is the daughter and granddaughter of Dutch dairy farmers.
3. She hold a Guinness world record
According to a recent Washington Post profile, Brand, along with another 2,604 Iowans, holds the Guinness world record for the largest Dutch “clomped.”
In other words … she can do this:
4. She’s got the perfect Republican resume
During her time at Harvard Law, Brand was active member of in the uber-conservative Federalist Society. At the Justice Department, she was assigned to shepherd the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel A. Alito through Senate confirmation. She also worked as counsel to Senator Elizabeth Dole’s 2000 presidential campaign and later helped Bush’s team during the Florida vote recount in 2000. Brand was law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
5. She’s married with two children
Brand met her husband, Jonathan Cohn, a former Justice Department lawyer, at Harvard when the two attended a Federalist Society student conference. They have two young sons.