Trump tran­si­tion stalls as son-in-law said to oust Christie al­lies

Cecil Whig - - & - By JEN­NIFER JACOBS

Bloomberg News

Power strug­gles in­side Don­ald Trump’s tran­si­tion team are hob­bling ef­forts to form a new govern­ment — in­clud­ing what some say is an ef­fort by the pres­i­dent-elect’s sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, to purge the ranks of loy­al­ists to New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie.

The tur­moil burst to the sur­face Tues­day with the abrupt de­par­ture of for­mer House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Mike Rogers, who had been tapped by Christie to lead na­tional se­cu­rity plan­ning for the tran­si­tion. Two peo­ple close to the tran­si­tion de­scribed his de­par­ture as a fir­ing, or­ches­trated by Kush­ner, the hus­band of Ivanka Trump who had been one of the most in­flu­en­tial voices in the cam­paign.

The moves came about in part due to fric­tion be­tween Kush­ner and Christie, said the peo­ple, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss per­son­nel mat­ters. As U.S. At­tor­ney for New Jer­sey, Christie in 2004 pros­e­cuted Kush­ner’s fa-

WASH­ING­TON—

ther, Charles, for tax eva­sion, wit­ness tam­per­ing and il­le­gal cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions. A plea agree­ment led to a two-year prison sen­tence. Kush­ner is be­lieved to have been one of the lead­ing voices who kept Christie off Trump’s pres­i­den­tial ticket.

Kush­ner didn’t re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Trump aides said the changes are re­lated to the pres­i­dent-elect want­ing his stamp on the make-up of all as­pects of his ad­min­is­tra­tion, and a de­sire to weed out lob­by­ists from the lead­er­ship teams. Pence is the best per­son to shape the tran­si­tion ef­fort, with the pres­i­dent-elect’s in­put, Trump spokesman Ja­son Miller said.

“Of course the pres­i­den­t­elect is go­ing to want his vice-pres­i­dent elect help­ing to build what the ad­min­is­tra­tion is go­ing to look like and the only per­son on the planet other than pres­i­den­t­elect who knows what that is the vice pres­i­dent-elect,” Miller said.

The shake­ups come just as the tran­si­tion team is about to launch its first wave of “land­ing teams” that will go into fed­eral agen­cies to re­view projects and pre­pare to im­ple­ment the pri­or­i­ties of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion. The em­pha­sis will be on search­ing for po­ten­tial re­forms — a man­date Trump gave all of the tran­si­tion lead­ers.

The move fol­lows the abrupt de­mo­tion of Christie on Nov. 11 from lead­ing the tran­si­tion ef­fort to be­ing one of sev­eral vice-chairs, with Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence tak­ing over the top spot. As part of that move, two other Christie loy­al­ists also were de­moted to lower ranks on the tran­si­tion team.

In ad­di­tion, fierce in­fight­ing has erupted over some of the most im­por­tant jobs in pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion — par­tic­u­larly over Sec­re­tary of State. For­mer New York Mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani has ex­pressed strong in­ter­est in be­ing the na­tion’s top diplo­mat. But other top fig­ures in the tran­si­tion had been back­ing John Bolton, a fa­vorite of the neo-con­ser­va­tive wing of the Repub­li­can Party and a for­mer United Na­tions am­bas­sador un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Bolton would likely face a tough con­fir­ma­tion fight in the Se­nate. Two other con­tenders have emerged in ad­di­tion to Gi­u­liani: for­mer Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Richard Ar­mitage, who served un­der Colin Pow­ell, and Henry Paul­son, who was Trea­sury Sec­re­tary un­der Bush, ac­cord­ing to one per­son fa­mil­iar with the tran­si­tion.

There also has been a de­lay in tran­si­tion work caused by Christie’s ouster. The White House, in re­sponse to ques­tions, said they are await­ing Pence’s sig­na­ture on a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing that pro­vides a frame­work, out­lined by fed­eral statute, for pro­vid­ing ac­cess to per­son­nel, doc­u­ments and other re­sources for the tran­si­tion.

“Fol­low­ing the change in lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s tran­si­tion team, we are now in the process of work­ing with the new tran­si­tion team Chair, Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence, to sign the Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing, which gov­erns the process by which tran­si­tion of­fi­cials work with cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion staff,” White House spokes- woman Brandi Hoffine said in re­sponse to ques­tions. (With as­sis­tance from Justin Sink)

DEN­NIS VAN TINE/ZUMA PRESS/TNS

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie was re­lieved of his du­ties over­see­ing Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s tran­si­tion team and now re­ports say his al­lies are see­ing sub­se­quent ousters from the cam­paign.

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