Trump Transition Effort Showing Signs of Strain

Vice President-elect Mike Pence waves as he arrives at Trump Tower, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 in New York. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Vice President-elect Mike Pence waves as he arrives at Trump Tower, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 in New York. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CN) – Donald Trump’s transition team appeared to be feeling the strain of setting up a new Republican administration on Tuesday, with the departure of two advisers amidst other problems.

The first blow came Tuesday morning when former Rep. Mike Rogers, who advised Trump n national security matters, abruptly resigned.

Rogers said in a statement that is he proud of the work his team did to produce policy and personnel guidance “on the complex national security challenges facing our great country.”

He also said he was “pleased to hand off our work” to a new transition team led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Trump put Pence in charge of the transition last week, effectively demoting for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had been running the operations. Though Trump didn’t explain why Christie was out, many speculated that it was because the governor was tarnished by the conviction of two former aides for their involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal know as Bridgegate.

But the change hasn’t been seamless. Coordination between the Trump transition team and the White House has been put on hold because Pence has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding governing interactions between transition officials and the Obama administration.

White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said the White House is working with Trump’s team to get the document signed.

She said the administration is ready to provide access to government personnel and resources to help Trump’s team get ready to assume power in January.

An aide to Trump’s team, meanwhile, said the delay is due to changes that are being made to the wording of the memorandum of understanding.

Later in the day on Tuesday, a Defense Department spokesman said the Trump transition team has not yet contacted the Pentagon to arrange for briefings or meetings.

Trowbridge, said that under Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s direction, the Pentagon has prepared briefing materials to be made available to Trump transition officials.

So far, however, the transition team has not firmed up when it will pick up those briefing books.

Meanwhile, the jockeying for top Trump administration posts appeared to be continuing in earnest as the president-elect hunkered down with staff and others in Manhattan.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Christie said he has every intention of serving out his term as governor, but would consider a Trump administration post if offered.

Christie’s term as governor ends in 2018.

But speaking on WPG talk radio from the Republican Governors Association conference in Orlando, Fla., Christie said he assured Trump that if he is asked to serve he would consider a position in the administration.

In New York, Trump is said to weighing whether to choose former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani  or John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as his secretary of state.

In Washington late Monday, Giuliani said Bolton would be a “very good choice.” Asked by the Associated Press if there was anyone better, Giuliani replied: “Maybe me, I don’t know.”

Carl Icahn, a close friend and business associate of Trump, took to twitter to reveal the president-elect  is considering Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, and Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor, to lead the Treasury and Commerce departments.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump loyalist during the campaign, is said to be a contender to lead the Pentagon as defense secretary.

But one person who won’t be part of the new Trump administration is retired neurosurgeon and one-time Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson.

Carson has opted out of being considered for any cabinet or other administration positions, including leading the Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of education.

Carson business manager Armstrong Williams told The Associated Press that his client hadn’t been offered a job, but that Trump had made clear he wanted his former rival in some role in the administration.

Ultimately, however, Carson concluded he’d be “more effective” to the president-elect if he remained outside the administration, Williams said.