45 After Dark: The Purge — Transition Week
A week into the Donald Trump transition, the president-elect’s team is showing shades of the most dysfunctional days of his campaign — full of personal rivalries, steered by heavy family involvement and hamstrung by opposing factions working to undermine each other.
“It’s an absolute knife fight,” one Trump insider told POLITICO’s Eli Stokols. “But that just makes it Tuesday.”
The most obvious sign of unrest Tuesday was the surprise ouster of former Rep. Mike Rogers, who had been leading Trump’s national security transition efforts. Rogers’ ouster is part of a broader effort to diminish the influence of those connected to Gov. Chris Christie, who lead Trump’s transition effort before getting demoted in favor of Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
It’s also the latest blow to the GOP’s national security and foreign policy establishment — always perhaps the most ruffled by Trump’s rise.
The “mood has darkened sharply since the weekend,” POLITICO’s Michael Crowley and Shane Goldmacher report, as names like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have emerged as contenders for Secretary of State. Foreign policy hands are particularly leery of Giuliani’s potential conflicts of interest. Another foreign policy adviser, Matthew Freedman, was also removed on Tuesday, The New York Times reported.
The man at the center of Tuesday’s bloodletting, Rogers, seemed to both downplay his ouster and acknowledge some level of tumult in Trump’s operation. He called his departure part of a “natural course” but also told CNN, “Is there a little confusion in New York right yet? I think there is, but I think this is growing pains,” Rogers said. “And once they integrate people who have been doing it [in Washington] with people in New York I think you'll see a smoother transition.”
And Trump, the man at the center of the maelstrom, has done something he has rarely, if ever, done since riding down the escalator in the summer of 2015: keep mostly quiet, and keep out of sight. He has tweeted occasionally hasn’t been spotted publicly since Thursday. (Though, very early transition pool reports suggest that he may — repeat “may” — have slipped out late Tuesday night for dinner.)
Here’s some other things that might have slipped by you today:
SESSIONS STAKES: Could key Donald Trump ally Sen. Jeff Sessions face a confirmation fight? His racially charged statements held up a Senate confirmation once before.
MILLIONAIRE: Hillary Clinton now leads in the popular vote by 1 million voters.
KUSH GIG: Donald Trump wants Jared Kushner to sit in on his presidential briefings, once he gets security clearance (NBC News)
FULL HOUSE: GOP Budget hawks are still leery of Donald Trump’s potential policies. (Los Angeles Times)
WARREN PARTY: Elizabeth Warren says she will fight Donald Trump every step of the way if he doesn’t get rid of all the lobbyists on his transition team. (Boston Globe)
GETTING READY: Mexico’s government says it is preparing for a change to Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
CASTING A PAUL: Rand Paul says he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent one name proffered as a Trump appointment, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton from becoming Secretary of State.
TRUMP INC.: Donald Trump’s various and layered business holdings pose ample opportunity for conflicts of interest. (The New York Times)
LESS THAN GRAND STAND: D.C.’s City Council is considering downsizing its Inaugural grandstand after Donald Trump’s surprising victory. (Washington Post)
And, there you have it, you’re caught up on the the Trump transition. Here’s a serene stream, for a calmer time.