Trump’s loyal followers force Mike Rogers to leave: Sources

WASHINGTON, U.S. - Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers cut his ties with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team leaving Trump with a daunting task of ...

• Rogers pledges to provide advice and counsel when needed

• Trump’s son-in-law’s longstanding grudge said to have influenced Christie’s departure

• Crucial Secretary of State appointment awaited

WASHINGTON, U.S. - Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers cut his ties with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team leaving Trump with a daunting task of filling thousands of administration jobs before his inauguration on January 20.  

Rogers, who was a national security adviser in the transition team, described his period working with the transition team as a ‘privilege’ and said he was handing off his responsibilities as a national security adviser to the Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

“These past six months, it has been an honor to serve as National Security Senior Adviser to the Trump transition team. Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday,” Rogers said in the statement.

“My team and I are pleased to hand off our work to my friend and former colleague, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Executive Director Rick Dearborn, the Trump family, and the stellar new leadership team. I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again,” Rogers added.

The Michigan Republican, who served in Congress between 2001 and 2015 and served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for four years was also an Army officer and an FBI special agent.

Reports noted that Rogers was the leading candidate for the post of CIA director. Now with his departure, he is likely to be off the list, with Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, contending for the post. 

Sources close to Rogers claimed that he was a victim of 'Stalinesque purge', from the transition team members due to his closeness to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was replaced on Friday. Reports claim that the purge is a result of emphasising on loyalty with significant influence from Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband.

On Friday, Trump made Pence Chairman of the transition team, demoting Christie to be one of the six vice chairmen as he was not considered loyal enough to Trump. 

The most obvious reason experts believe is that Christie failed to vocally defend Trump during the election campaign. 

However, some sources have claimed that he has long been in a delicate position with Trump, courtesy, a longstanding grudge, sparked when Christie prosecuted Kushner's father Charles Kushner in 2004. Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 felony counts, including tax fraud and witness tampering, and was sentenced to two years in federal prison. Rogers being a close confidant of Christie had to be sacrificed. 

Amidst talks of how Trump’s cabinet appointments are in a disarray - Trump clarified on Twitter, “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!”

Further, Pence has reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding that governs the process by which Trump officials work with the current White House staff on transition issues.

White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said in a statement, “The next step is for the president-elect's transition team to provide us with the names of the individuals they have authorized to represent their transition effort across the government. Once we have received those names and related materials, those individuals will be able to receive the briefing materials we have prepared and begin to communicate with their Obama administration agency counterparts as we continue our work to facilitate the transition to the next Administration."

Meanwhile, Trump has named RNC Chair Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff and controversial former media executive, Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and counselor in the White House.

While Priebus’ appointment was applauded, Trump faced backlash over Bannon’s appointment.

Bannon is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, an American conservative news site which under his leadership became a forum for the "alt-right" — the umbrella term for a group of Americans who seek to eschew political correctness and break the current political system, and are viewed by critics as a loose online group of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Further, former Goldman Sachs Group partner Steven Mnuchin, who was the campaign’s finance chairman, is being seen as a possible pick for Treasury Secretary. 

Mnuchin said he and aides are "working on the economic plan with the transition, making sure we get the biggest tax bill passed, the biggest tax changes since Reagan, so a lot of exciting things in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency."

Amongst the bigger appointments awaited is the appointment of a new secretary of State. 

Reports have suggested that John Bolton, the former ambassador to the United Nations, and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York are top contenders for the post - more so after Giuliani ruled out the possibility of being the attorney general in an interview earlier this week.

Other appointments are likely to be announced in coming days.


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