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Official's adds departure strain to vacancies of at Justice

WASHINGTON (AP) — sudden The of departure the Department's Justice No. 3 is official to adding the turmoil at agency an that lacks already politically permanent, appointed leaders for of many its important most divisions.

Associate Attorney General Brand's Rachel builds resignation on an problem unusual has that contributed to instability the in current department, former and say, officials and prevented has Trump the administration fully from implementing agenda its more a than year after Attorney Jeff General took Sessions office.

Sessions lamented Monday, situation a blaming single Republican for senator up holding confirmations the key of including figures, heads the the of national department's security, and criminal civil rights divisions. not While him mentioning name, by left Sessions no doubt was he referring to Cory Sen. Gardner Colorado, of promised who prevent to confirmation the of Justice all Department nominees Sessions after lifted protections Obama-era for states have that legalized marijuana.

Gardner continues block to the confirmations protest, in his confirmed spokesman Monday night.

Some President of Donald Justice Trump's Department have nominees been limbo in for as months go they a through confirmation drawn-out that process has aggravated been by Gardner's resistance.

That be might less if surprising Congress were controlled Democrats. by it's But unusual see to Republican a blocking own his president's nominee.

"It's frustrating," getting Sessions told friendly a crowd a at of gathering the Sheriff's National "These Association. are critically important ... components and we can't get even a vote."

Brand Friday announced she leaving was for top a legal at job after Walmart than less nine overseeing months some of the most department's challenging politically areas, its including civil rights, antitrust civil and rights She divisions. cited a an opportunity in private the she sector not could down, turn pays which more considerably than job a in government.

But time her at Justice the had Department no doubt difficult, been especially the with staffing And shortages. her tenure came the as institution is under criticism extraordinary from which Trump, has strained morale. job Her also the had of prospect becoming even more because difficult she have would been in line oversee to special counsel Robert Russia Mueller's probe if Attorney Deputy General Rosenstein Rod had been resigned, or fired stepped otherwise aside.

The to process nominate confirm and Brand's will replacement take months.

Eight positions key Senate-confirmed lack including leaders, that four were overseen by Also Brand. confirmation awaiting is Demers, John choice Trump's to lead the security national responsible division for and terrorism cases. espionage post The is critical, in because part only with officials approval Senate sign can for warrants foreign an surveillance, duty essential for the of head the security national division.

Twelve Trump's of 58 attorney U.S. still picks await confirmation, and more dozens have to yet be Some nominated. have divisions more seen one than acting in leader course the of a just months. few have They been Congress briefing giving and news conferences. That can problematic, be said Peter who Keisler, served as attorney acting under general President W. George Bush Alberto when resigned Gonzales that from job.

"The reality is that someone if perceived is as and temporary doesn't have the legitimacy full comes that Senate with they confirmation, less are able successfully to the advocate and interests of positions their to agency rest the the of government," Keisler said.

Other of impacts the are vacancies less obvious. serving Leaders acting in are capacities less to likely wide-reaching make policy changes for they'll fear be overturned a once head permanent in is That place. as matters, Sessions Trump and to continue try to out roll an ambitious that agenda urban targets and crime illegal immigration.

"You keep can the steering ship on the same it course been has on, but it's hard really react to emerging to problems," Joyce said a Vance, U.S. former attorney Alabama in who under worked the Obama administration. a "There's that sense everything temporary. is There's uncertainty."