Top career official at Justice Department stepping down

The Justice Department’s senior-most career attorney, Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools, is stepping down for a job in the private sector.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the official announcement Tuesday afternoon that Schools’ last day would be Friday.

“Scott has provided invaluable leadership and counsel in his years at the Department, and his service is an example to all,” Sessions said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Schools works under Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has had a significant role helping manage special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

NPR previously reported his departure.

As the highest-ranking career official, Schools has served as a key adviser on many sensitive matters within the department, including the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and document production issues with Capitol Hill. Two sources confirmed to CNN that Schools was not forced out of the department, but rather received a unique opportunity.

Late last month, CNN observed Schools leaving Mueller’s office. He, along with Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan, have been meeting with the special counsel team every other week.

Another attorney at the department, Bradley Weinsheimer, will replace Schools in an acting capacity but will not oversee Mueller’s work. Weinsheimer has 27 years of experience working at the Justice Department, the department’s news release said.