Pence purges lobbyists from transition team days after Trump said he couldn't shake them because they're 'the only people' in Washington
Transition head and Vice president-elect Mike Pence showed lobbyists the door on Tuesday, replacing the team that Chris Christie had constructed
It 'makes good' on Trump's promise to drain the swamp in Washington
Trump said Sunday his operation was full of lobbyists because 'that’s the only people you have down there'
Trump's transition team is getting a make over a week after Americans gave him the job; son-in-law Jared Kushner said to be intimately involved
Donald Trump's transition team is getting a make-over that will leave it free of lobbyists. Transition head and Vice president-elect Mike Pence showed lobbyists the door on Tuesday, Fox News reports, replacing the team that Chris Christie had constructed when he was in charge with one that 'makes good' on Trump's promise to drain the swamp. Confronted by 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl in an exclusive that aired Sunday, Trump said his operation was full of lobbyists because 'that’s the only people you have down there.' 'Everybody’s a lobbyist down there,' the New Yorker said of the seat of government. 'They’re lobbyists or special interests.' Trump insisted that he's 'trying to clean up Washington.'
'But everybody that works for government, they then leave government and they become a lobbyist, essentially. I mean, the whole place is one big lobbyist.' The president-elect told his flabbergasted interviewer, 'I’m saying that they know the system right now, but we’re going to phase that out. You have to phase it out.' Since the sit-down Trump took a hard look at his own operation, which was comprised not only of lobbyists, but corporate lawyers and old school bureaucrats.
Mike Rogers, a former House Intelligence Committee Chairman and national security expert, was also kicked off the Trump train this week. Rogers was part of Christie's team and was purged from the transitional government along with other advisers who came in with the New Jersey governor. 'Sometimes in politics … there are people who are in and people who are out,' Rogers said on CNN Tuesday evening. 'And the people who have been asked to move on have some relationship with Chris Christie.' Rogers estimated that five individuals with ties to Christie were let go. 'And you know what? That's absolutely the campaign's prerogative,' he said.
Christie led Trump's team until last Friday, when he layered by Pence and forced into the role of vice chair, a title he shares with New Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and Senator Jeff Sessions. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whom the president-elect has reportedly requested security clearance for, is driving the shake up, sources have said. Christie prosecuted and sent Kushner's father Charles to jail in 2004. Charles Kushner spent two years in prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering. Trump spokesman Jason Miller told Bloomberg that Pence's promotion was a natural progression post-election.
'Of course the president-elect is going to want his vice-president elect helping to build what the administration is going to look like,' he said. 'And the only person on the planet other than president-elect who knows what that is is the vice president-elect.' Pence told reporters Tuesday evening as he left Trump Tower that it was a 'good day,' as they pummeled him with questions about the messy transition effort. Trump projected calm in Tuesday evening Tweet, sent hours after he ditched his press pool to have dinner with his immediate family and their spouses.
'Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!’ he said. Giuliani, a cabinet contender, told the New York Times the discord was ‘completely normal.’ It happened in the Reagan transition. Clinton had delays in hiring people,’ he said, referring to past presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Giuliani said, ‘This is a hard thing to do. Transitions always have glitches. This is an enormously complex process.’
The media is already kvetching about Mike Rogers departure from Trump's transition team: archive.fo