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Trump transition team in place


REUTERS

Trump transition team in place

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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK – President-elect Donald Trump began laying the groundwork on Friday to take office on January 20, 2017, gathering the most loyal advisers from his insurgent campaign and three of his children to plot his transition strategy.

Trump put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge of his White House transition team, while demoting his former transition chief, tarnished New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, to one of the six vice-chair posts.

Daughter Ivanka and sons Eric and Donald Jr and son-in-law Jared Kushner accounted for a fourth of the 16-member executive committee, which was filled with politicians and advisers who stuck with Trump during his rollercoaster first run for public office.

Aides huddled in the real-estate mogul’s Trump Tower in New York City to begin prioritizing policy changes and considering Cabinet picks and other candidates for the 4 000 positions he will need to fill shortly after he takes the reins of the White House.

A member of the Trump transition team told Reuters there were more than 100 people now involved in developing “white papers” on what regulations to roll back after January 20. Some environmental measures and a rule requiring retirement advisers to act in their clients’ interests could be among the first on the chopping block, an industry lobbying source said.

Trump promised during his campaign to cut taxes, clamp down on immigration and repeal President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

But in interviews with the Wall Street Journal and CBS 60 Minutes on Friday, he said he was open to keeping some provisions of Obamacare.

James Woolsey, a former CIA director who has advised Trump on foreign policy, said several of Trump’s campaign promises were “advocacy of a general direction” that may require compromise – including his signature pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Woolsey told CNN that border security could be achieved with a combination of fence and wall.

“I don’t think we ought to fall on our sword about the difference between a wall and fence. Maybe this will be cheaper because it’s mainly fence, but it’s a good fence. I wouldn’t have any problem with that myself,” he said.

Trump, a billionaire real estate magnate, also moved on Friday to extricate himself from his sprawling business empire, which will be overseen by his three grown children on the transition team.

His company said it was vetting new business structures for the transfer of control to the three and the arrangement would not violate conflict-of-interest laws. But government ethics experts said the move would fall short of blind trust standards and was unlikely to prevent potential conflicts of interest.

Trump said that Pence – who has strong ties to Republican leaders in Congress – will build on work done by Christie and has the mission of assembling “the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington”. (Reuters

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