ReutersWASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) — President-elect Donald Trump closed in on naming two loyal Wall Street backers to key economic positions but jettisoned a national security expert from his inner circle as his transition cleared an initial paperwork snag on Tuesday.
Trump, a Republican outsider who won a surprise election victory last week, is considering campaign finance chair and Wall Street veteran Steven Mnuchin as his treasury secretary, and longtime backer and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary, according to Trump ally and activist investor Carl Icahn.
But a well-known Republican moderate was pushed out of transition planning. Mike Rogers, a former U.S. representative from Michigan who had been mentioned as a possible pick for CIA director, suddenly left the transition team.
Rogers had worked with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who on Friday was abruptly replaced as head of the team by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
That overhaul temporarily put the brakes on transition talks with the White House. Pence needed to sign a memorandum of understanding, which the White House received on Tuesday evening.
The Trump team still needs to provide more paperwork before detailed agency-by-agency briefings can take place, a White House spokeswoman said. The team will need to provide a code of conduct and certify that its transition team members do not have conflicts of interest.
Additional changes may be in store. The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed transition team member, reported that Pence had ordered all lobbyists off the transition team.
Officials for Pence and the transition could not immediately be reached for comment.
Pence was slated to head to Washington on Wednesday, where he and his wife, Karen, will be hosted for lunch by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, at their official residence, the Naval Observatory.
Trump has fewer than 70 days until his Jan. 20 inauguration to settle on Cabinet members and other senior appointees. He will eventually need to fill roughly 4,000 open positions.
Following a long day of meetings, Trump’s motorcade slipped away from reporters gathered at his New York City apartment building. Trump and his family had dinner at 21 Club, a Manhattan restaurant, a spokeswoman said.
Trump calls New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has called New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to pass on his sympathies for the powerful earthquake that killed two people.
Key’s office described the conversation on Wednesday as “very warm and cordial.”
The magnitude-7.8 quake that struck on Monday has left hundreds of tourists stranded in the coastal town of Kaikoura after landslides blocked off roads. The military is evacuating people in helicopters.
Trump had tried to get in touch earlier in the week but Key had missed the call in the confusion after the quake.
Key’s office said in a statement that he had congratulated Trump on his election win. The leaders also discussed the New Zealand economy, trade, and the relationship between the two nations, which they agreed was in great shape.Speech