Mike Pence replaces Chris Christie to lead Trump team

image copyrightReuters

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence has replaced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in leading President-elect Donald Trump's transition effort.

Mr Christie will serve as one of the transition team's vice-chairmen, according to a Trump team statement.

The New Jersey governor has been marred by scandal after two of his aides were convicted in a political revenge plot.

Mr Pence will help to "prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one", the statement said.

Governor Christie will join Dr Ben Carson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and US Senator Jeff Sessions as the vice chairs of the transition effort.

Other notable appointments, marked in the Trump statement as his "staff leadership team", include:

  • Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor
  • David Bossie, deputy executive director
  • Hope Hicks, national press secretary
  • Stephen Miller, national policy director
  • Jason Miller, communications director
  • Don McGahn, general counsel

"This team of experienced leaders will form the building blocks of our Presidential Transition Team staff leadership roster, and will work with elected officials and tireless volunteers to prepare our government for the transfer of power on January 20th," Mr Pence said in a statement.

Mr Trump has also named three of his children and his son-in-law to the transition team's executive committee, raising questions about a potential conflict of interest with his business, the Trump Organization.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThis combination of pictures shows (From L to R) Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner

The president-elect's lawyer said his holdings would be placed in a blind trust under his daughter, Ivanka, and sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr - all of whom were appointed to the presidential committee.

But a blind trust would mean placing Mr Trump's finances under the management of an independent party, preventing him from knowing what is in the trust or how it is managed.

Mr Christie has been mired in controversy since his two former aides, Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, were found guilty on nine counts of conspiracy and fraud earlier this month.

The two were convicted in connection to a 2013 plot to close parts of the George Washington Bridge to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, for not endorsing Mr Christie's re-election bid.

Mr Christie has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the plot, but both Ms Kelly and Mr Baroni testified in court that the governor had known about the lane closures.