Trump Transition Team & Possible Appointments
It’s been widely reported that many lobbyists initially on the transition team have resigned. We have updated as we can confirm resignations.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence (@mike_pence) is leading the Trump transition team after replacing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as Chairman.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (@GovChristie)
The New Jersey governor continues to be dogged by scandal and has taken the first steps to appeal a court ruling that said he might have broken state law during the George Washington Bridge lane closures – a bizarre scheme to close access to the bridge to punish a local mayor who failed to endorse the governor’s re-election.
A judge found probable cause that Christie engaged in official misconduct during the 2013 lane closures.
A federal jury found his two top aides guilty of all charges they faced in connection with the scheme.
Testimony in the trial showed that Christie knew about the lane closings as they were causing major traffic jams and showed he was involved in covering up the plot, even as he continued to insist that he knew nothing about it until months after it was over.
On social issues, he opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, and he emphasizes the need to secure the border, and believes it is premature to discuss legalization of people who came to the United States unlawfully.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson)
Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who has been critical of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying in 2013 that “Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery…. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.” As an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Carson said in 2013: “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account.”
As a presidential candidate, Carson supported abolishing Medicare and Medicaid, moving dollars out of these “traditional health care” programs to fund new health savings accounts. He proposed having the government contribute $2,000 to each individual’s account annually, with individuals and employers permitted to contribute additional funds. Unspent funds could be shared within a family.
In March 2013, Carson described his views on same-sex marriage on Hannity, saying: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”
GLAAD criticized Carson for having “equated gays” with those from the North American Man/Boy Love Association and bestiality. He later apologized for his remarks,[ saying that he was not equating those groups.
According to The Atlantic, Trump had this to say about Carson during the primary:
…he wrote a book. And in the book he said terrible things about himself. He said that he’s pathological and that he’s got basically a pathological disease. Now he wrote this I guess before he was running for office or thought that he was running for office. And I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease. I don’t want it. I’m not saying he’s got it, he said it….
Now. If you’re pathological, there’s no cure for that, folks.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich)
The former Congressman from Georgia and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was the main architect of the “Contract with America.” As House Speaker the chamber enacted welfare reform, passed a capital gains tax cut and a balanced budget. Gingrich soon fell from grace when he became the first House Speaker to be reprimanded for an ethics violation . He was pressured to step down as Speaker and resign from the chamber.
Gingrich’s ethics violations date back to the 1990s, when he taught a course at Kennesaw State College while serving in Congress.
The organizers of the course solicited financial support from “individuals, corporations and foundations,” promising that the project qualified for tax-exempt status. But an ethics committee investigation concluded that the course was “actually a coordinated effort” to “help in achieving a partisan, political goal” — something that would run afoul of its tax-exempt status.
After being raised Lutheran and spending most of his adult life as a Southern Baptist, Gingrich converted to Roman Catholicism in 2009. He has been married three times, with the first two marriages ending in affairs and divorce.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is reportedly set to become President-elect Trump’s national security advisor.
The expected appointment comes as U.S. law enforcement is looking into Flynn, a prominent Trump military advisor, who traveled to Russia and gave a speech during a tenth anniversary celebration for Russian state-owned media company RT. He’s refused to answer questions about who paid him for the appearance.
More recently, Flynn has been under fire for using social media to promote a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and their inner circles in recent months — pushing dubious factoids at least 16 times since Aug. 9, according to a POLITICO review of his Twitter posts, reports Politico. Flynn, who has 106,000 Twitter followers, has used the platform to retweet accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has “secretly waged war” on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a “jihadi” who “laundered” money for Muslim terrorists.
This pattern raises serious questions about whether he has the needed skills to recognize false information or is just hard wired to believe the worst.
The week before the election, Flynn became agitated when Politico peppered him with questions about whether the Trump campaign was boosting Vladimir Putin and white supremacists. Allen remains defensive even though former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and adviser Carter Page have been investigated for alleged ties to the Kremlin.
In 2004 to 2007, Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations command under Gen. Stanley McChrystal, with stints in Iraq and Afghanistan where he was a key figure in dismantling insurgent networks.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (MayorRGiuliani)
The former New York Mayor and presidential contender has international business ties that are viewed as red flags for the job of Secretary of State, and he is viewed as a leading contender for the job.
His Houston-based law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, has lobbied on behalf of Citgo, Venezuela’s state-owned state oil company and Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry.
Giuliani’s ties to Qatar came to light when he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. A subsidiary of Giuliani Partners, known as Giuliani Security and Safety, had advised Qatar’s state-owned oil company about security at a natural-gas plant, reports Salon. The Qatari government may have a less-than-stellar human rights record, but in the world of international business it is the type of client that one would expect that a security firm founded by an amoral politician trying to cash in on his name would take on.
But during the presidential campaign, Giuliani sucked up a great deal of airtime, mostly on Fox News, attacking the Clinton Foundation for accepting “hundreds of millions” of dollars in donations from Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (@SenatorSessions)
The U.S. Senator from Alabama has a well-documented record of bigotry.
During his last set of confirmation hearings, before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions lost out on an appointment to the federal bench.
Witnesses testified that he had called major civil rights organizations “un-American,” used racially insensitive language with associates and even said pot-smoking was the only reason he no longer thought the KKK was OK. His nomination was withdrawn after two fellow Republicans crossed the partisan divide on the panel to disapprove of his confirmation.
Sessions ran for the Senate a decade later and won, affirmed by Alabama voters who thought Washington had run amok. Now, Sessions, a partially reconstructed baiter of minorities, is in the mix for a Cabinet appointment. The talk of him taking over as attorney general, the person responsible for the protection of civil rights, has subsided in recent days. But he still appears to be a leading contender to run the Defense Department or the Homeland Security Department.
Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta (@RepLouBarletta)
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn)
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (@PamBondi)
New York Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins)
Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law and publisher of New York Observer (@jaredkushner)
Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino (@RepTomMarino)
Rebekah Mercer, hedge fund heiress
Steven Mnuchin, Trump campaign finance chairman and former Goldman Sachs partner
California Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee (@DevinNunes)
Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital (@Scaramucci)
Peter Thiel, venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal (@peterthiel)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (@Reince)
Trump Campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon (@StephenBannon)
Trump children Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr), Eric Trump (@EricTrump) and Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump)
Rev. Darrell Scott, Pastor New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland (added 11/29/16)
Rick Dearborn, Executive Director (chief of staff to Sen. Sessions)
Kellyanne Conway (@kellyannePolls), Senior Advisor
David Bossie (@David_Bossie), Deputy Executive Director
Stephen Miller, National Policy Director
Jason Miller, Communications Director (@JasonMillerinDC)
Hope Hicks, National Press Secretary
Dan Scavino (@DanScavino), Director of Social Media
Don McGahn, General Counsel
Katie Walsh (@KMWalsh_GOP), Senior Advisor
Director – Ron Nicol, senior adviser for the Boston Consulting Group
Defense – Keith Kellogg, the former commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Defense – Mira Ricardel
Veterans Affairs – Michael Meese
National Security –
Rep. Mike Rogers, Frank Gaffney, California Rep. Devin Nunes, former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra
State – Jim Carafano
Dept. of Homeland Security – Cindy Hayden
Intelligence – Ronald Burgess
National Safety Council – Matthew Freedman
Justice – Kevin O’Connor
Economic Issues – David Malpass, the former chief economist at Bear Stearns and William L (“Bill”) Walton, who heads the private equity firm Rappahannock Ventures and Rush River Entertainment.
Treasury – David Malpass
Commerce – Ray Washburne
United States Trade Representative – Dan DiMicco
Independent Financial Agencies – Paul Atkins
Small Business Administration – Christine Toretti
Federal Communications Commission – Jeffrey Eisenach
Social Security Administration – Michael Korbey
Domestic Issues – Ken Blackwell (@kenblackwell), former Mayor of Cincinnati and Secretary of State of Ohio
Dept. of Energy/U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission –
Environmental Protection Agency – Myron Ebell
Labor – Steve Hart
Health & Human Services – Andrew Bremberg
Housing & Urban Development – ?
Dept. of Transportation – Shirley Ybarra
Education – Bill Evers, Lead, Jim Manning, Deputy
Interior – David Bernhardt
Management and Budget – former Attorney General Ed Meese and former Director of Personnel Management Kay Coles James.
Office of Management & Budget – Paul Winfree & Linda Springer
Office of Personnel Management – Kay Coles James
General Services Administration – Bob MacKichan
Agency Transformation and Innovation – Beth Kaufman
Director – Ado Machida
Executive Legal Action Lead – Andrew Bremberg
Executive Authority Advisor – Carlos Diaz Rosillo
Immigration Reform & Building The Wall – Danielle Cutrona, counsel to Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Healthcare Reform – Paula Stannard, former deputy general counsel and acting general counsel of HHS and currently a lawyer at Alston & Bird.
Defense & National Security – Maj. Gen. Bert Mizusawa, Lead and Sandra Luff, Deputy
Trade Reform – Rolf Lundberg, a lobbyist and former employee of the Chamber of Commerce.
Tax Reform – Jim Carter, a lobbyist employed by Emerson.
Veterans Administration Reform – Bill Chatfield
Regulatory Reform – Rob Gordon, who serves as staff director/senior policy adviser for the House Natural Resources Committee, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee
Energy Independence –
Michael Catanzaro, an energy lobbyists whose clients include American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Hess, Devon Energy, and Encana Oil and Gas.
Financial Services Reform – Brian Johnson, Chief Financial Institutions Counsel for the House Financial Services Committee
Education – Gerard Robinson of the American Enterprise Institute.
Transportation & Infrastructure – Martin Whitmer, a lobbyist at Whitmer & Worrall whose client include the American Association of Railroads, National Asphalt Pavement Association and the Utilities Technology Council.
Protecting Americans’ Constitutional Rights – Ken Klukowski (@kenklukowski), legal editor, Brietbart News & senior counsel and director of strategic affairs for the First Liberty Institute.
James Carafano – a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute and former professor at the U.S. Naval War College is leading appointment selections to the U.S. State Department.
Jeffrey Eisenach – a Verizon and other telecommunications client consultant is helping to pick staff members at the Federal Communications Commission.
Kris Kobach (@KrisKobach1787) – the Secretary of State of Kansas is serving as a policy adviser on immigration.
Robert Smith Walker – former member of Congress from Pennsylvania and chair of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy, is advising the transition on space policy.
Reince Priebus – Chief of Staff
Steve Bannon – Senior Counselor, Chief Strategist
Kellyanne Conway – Counselor to the President
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – National Security Advisor
Kathleen Troia “KT” MacFarland – Deputy National Security Advisor
Monica Crowley – Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications
Mike Pompeo – CIA Director
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – U.S. Ambassador to United Nations
Don McGahn – White House Counsel
Gary Cohn – National Economic Council Director
Peter Navarro – National Trade Council Director
Tom Bossert – Homeland Security Advisor
Sean Spicer – White House Press Secretary
Ken Blackwell, leading transition’s domestic policy efforts
Don McGahn, transition chief counsel
Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas
Chuck Conner, CEO National of Farmer Conservatives
Dave Heineman, former Governor of Nebraska
Sid Miller, Texas agricultural commissioner
Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia
Wilbur Ross, Founder WL Ross & Co investment firm (Announced)
Deputy Secretary of Commerce
Todd Ricketts, part owner of the Chicago Cubs (Announced)
James Mattis, former commander of United States Central Command (Announced)
United States Secretary of the Army
Vincent Viola, Army veteran & owner of Florida Panthers (Announced)
Betsy DeVos, Chairman of American Federation for Children, a pro-school-voucher group (Announced)
Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas (Announced)
Trump picked former Texas governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy – an agency Perry said he would abolish if he was elected President.
Despite the agency’s name, the department plays the leading role in designing nuclear weapons, thwarting their proliferation and ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s aging nuclear arsenal through a group of laboratories considered the crown jewels of government science, according to the New York Times.
“The Rick Perry choice is so perplexing,” former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, told The Times. Dorgan for years led the committee that oversees the Energy Department’s budget. “I think very few people understand that the Energy Department, to a very substantial degree, is dealing with nuclear weapons,” he said. “And Rick Perry suggested the agency should be abolished. That suggests he thinks it doesn’t have value.”
The choice of Perry comes as Trump terrified those committed to nuclear non-proliferation when he tweeted that the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.’’
Trump’s tweet suggests an inability to appreciate that Twitter’s 140 characters are too limited to handle dangerously sensitive and complex international challenges. The choice of Perry suggests he does not care.
Health & Human Services Secretary
Tom Price, Congressman from Georgia (Announced)
Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Seema Verma, health policy consultant & architect of Healthy Indiana Plan (Announced)
John Kelly, Retired Marine General (Announced)
Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson (Announced)
Jeff Sessions, Senator from Alabama (Announced)
For U.S. Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement official with responsibility to protect civil and human rights, Trump has nominated a man with a “30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes him unfit to serve as the Attorney General of the United States,’’ according to a letter to Senate leaders signed by dozens of high-powered groups.
The letter is a comprehensive look at the 30-year record. Among the main examples it lists for his unfitness to serve:
- In 1986, when Ronald Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship, the Senate Judiciary blocked the appointment after examining his record. It showed him to be an opponent of civil rights enforcement, a champion of voter suppression tactics targeting African Americans and a fan of making racially insensitive statements.
- He has voiced strong support for restrictive voter ID laws that have disenfranchised otherwise eligible voters and called the Voting Rights Act “intrusive.”
- He has a long record of opposition to immigration reform, referring to a bipartisan 2007 bill as “terrorist assistance” and he has accepted awards from the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, two organizations that te Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as anti-Muslim hate groups.
- He supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and opposed repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
- He has cast multiple votes to defund Planned Parenthood and has a long record of opposing legislation to advance women’s rights, notably opposing multiple efforts to address the pay gap and to protect women’s access to reproductive health services. He opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009,[iii]enabling women to file ongoing pay discrimination claims, and has voted multiple times against consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act.[iv]Senator Sessions also opposed Title X funding legislation, which supports contraception, breast cancer screening and other health services for low-income women.
Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon (Announced)
Exxon Mobile Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson is the nominee for Secretary of State and he immediately faced bipartisan resistance from Congress to his nomination – most of over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Exxon has a long history of doing business in Russia.
“It’s a matter of concern to me that he has such a close personal relationship with Vladimir Putin,” Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) told CBS, noting that the two men’s history of deal making raises concerns that the business relationship “would color his approach to Vladimir Putin and the Russian threat.”
Tillerson’s nomination comes as key members of America’s intelligence community agree with a CIA assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election, in part, to help Donald Trump win the White House.
Salon published this list of journalists murdered in Russia since 2000 and this report on the Dutch prosecutorial inquiry that found that Russia had supplied separatists in Ukraine, which Russia had invaded, with the missile system that shot down a passenger plane in 2014, killing all 298 on board.
Ryan Zinke, Congressman from Montana (Announced)
Candidate Trump criticized Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers for their excessive political influence and profiteering. Now he’s tapped Steve Mnuchin, a 53-year-old Wall Street hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs alum to be Secretary of the Treasury.
Both Trump and Mnuchin have run businesses accused of widespread racial discrimination, and they both represent the excessive wealth and greed of the billionaire class.
In 2009, Mnuchin helped assemble a group of investors to buy IndyBank. FDIC had taken over the bank the previous year, and the investors bought it for far less than the value of IndyMac’s assets. The FDIC was so desperate to unload IndyMac that Mnuchin and his colleagues were able to obtain, as part of the purchase deal, a so-called “shared loss” agreement from the FDIC which reimbursed these billionaires for much of their costs for foreclosing on people unlucky enough to have mortgages from IndyMac.
Within a year, the group that the Los Angeles Times called a “billionaires’ club of private financiers” had paid themselves dividends of $1.57 billion. In other words, the FDIC took much of the risk by subsidizing the bank’s troubled assets, while Mnuchin and his colleagues pocketed the profits.
They changed IndyMac’s name to OneWest, then sold it 2015 — an investment Bloomberg estimates might have generated about $380 million in proceeds for Mnuchin alone.
A recently leaked memo says the bank might have engaged in widespread misconduct” while foreclosing on homeowners, according to the memo written by lawyers in the California attorney general’s office.
The memo urged top officials in then-Attorney General Kamala Harris’s office to sue OneWest Bank over the allegations, which included backdating mortgage documents to speed up foreclosures and manipulating the results of home auctions. Harris didn’t pursue the case, according to the Intercept. The memo doesn’t say Mnuchin took part in or even knew about alleged misconduct. More from Bloomberg:
“During his tenure there, OneWest foreclosed on tens of thousands of homeowners. In many of these cases, OneWest wasn’t the owner of the underlying mortgage, but acted as a servicer. OneWest has defended its foreclosure record in the past, pointing to reviews by the Treasury Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that showed few errors.
Lawyers in the attorney general’s consumer-law unit came to a different conclusion. One review of loan documents filed in 2009, and subpoenaed from a third-party contractor, found 909 out of 913 documents had been backdated, the memo states. The authors speculate that the backdating may have helped “paper over” mistakes that could delay foreclosures.
The investigation also found instances in which OneWest submitted “credit bids” during foreclosure auctions when it wasn’t entitled to do so under the law. That practice may have frozen out other potential offers, including from the homeowner, the memo states.
The attorney general’s office determined that it didn’t have the jurisdictional authority to subpoena OneWest, the memo states. When it tried to subpoena third-party contractors, OneWest ordered them not to comply, according to the memo.”
Veterans Affairs Secretary
David Shulkin, current VA undersecretary for health (Announced)
Andy Puzder, heads parent company of Carl’s Jr and Hardees restaurants (Announced)
Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Labor is a staunch opponent of minimum wage hikes, doesn’t think workers should get breaks and his fast-food chains have had to pay out millions of dollars to settle overtime claims.
He is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich slammed Puzder as “anti-worker” during a CNN panel earlier this month and said, “The Department of Labor came into his restaurants and found that half his restaurants had wage and labor violations that violated the law of the United States.”
Trump’s campaign made a direct appeal to union members, claiming to be their champion, and exit polls show he did better with union households than typical Republicans. Then he rewarded them by picking an anti-worker Secretary of Labor.
Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General (Announced)
U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer, deputy trade representative during the Reagan administration (Announced)
Securities and Exchange Commission, Chair
Jay Clayton, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and an adviser to Goldman Sachs (Announced)
Director of National Intelligence
Dan Coates, former Indiana Senator and member Senate Intelligence Committee (Announced)