President-elect Donald Trump denies that his transition team is in disarray as it begins planning what the Republican's White House team will look like.
"Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions," said Trump in a late night tweet on Tuesday (15 November). "I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!"
Trump's assertion that everything is OK followed on the heels of former Congressman Mike Rogers' announcement earlier in the day that he is leaving the transition team. A senior Republican told CBS News that Rogers was forced out because of his relationship with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was pushed from his post heading up the team on Sunday (13 November).
Rogers' handling of the Benghazi investigation and failure to find Hillary Clinton culpable for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya in 2012, was another strike against him, the source said. Rogers was Chair of the House Intelligence Committee from 2011 to 2015.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence now heads up the team and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka, is helping to call the shots. When he was a federal prosecutor Christie sent Kushner's father to jail. Trump has asked that Kushner sit in on his daily presidential briefings.
The team must find about 150 well qualified staff to run the West Wing of the White House. Sources familiar with details of Trump's first meeting with President Barak Obama on 10 November told the Wall Street Journal the president-elect's aides were unaware the entire staff need to be replaced.
The Huffington Post has been told by several sources close to the Trump transition team and inside the Obama administration that the team is having trouble finding Republicans for important government posts. Many prominent Republicans with government experience distanced themselves from Trump during his campaign, calling him unfit to be president after he called on Russia to hack into his rival Hillary Clinton's emails.
A former counselor to the United States Department of State under Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Eliot A Cohen, warned officials away from the new administration after he communicated with the transition team. "Stay away," Cohen wrote on Twitter. "They're angry, arrogant, screaming 'you LOST!' Will be ugly."
Pence has barred all lobbyists from the transition team in one of his first moves as he took over heading the group, one of the team's members told the WSJ. The team had faced criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over lobbyists in their ranks after Trump campaign on the promise to "drain the swamp" and loosen ties between Washington politicians and lobby groups.
"This will have a chilling effect on his hiring, no doubt," Paul Miller, who leads the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics told the Associated Press. "Most people who agree to government service want to go back into the private sector. We don't want career politicians, and that's what he could end up with."