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White House: Pence signs MOU on transition

The White House says it has received a memorandum of understanding from Vice President-elect Mike Pence. It's one of several key steps before the Obama administration can give detailed briefing materials to Trump's team.

A White House spokeswoman said Vice President-elect Mike Pence signed the document late Tuesday, resolving the paperwork problem that had held up the formal transition process since last week.

Spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said they were still waiting on other files required by law before agencies can begin sharing detailed information with the incoming administration.

"The next step is for the President-elect's transition team to provide us with the names of the individuals they have authorized to represent their transition effort across the government," Hoffine said.

President-elect Donald Trump's team also needs to certify that those individuals meet a code of conduct and do not have conflicts of interest.

The memorandum of understanding, an important first step, must be signed by the transition leader. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was abruptly replaced as transition chair by Pence on Friday. That change temporarily stalled talks on the transfer of power with the White House - Christie had signed the document, but Pence's promotion made it invalid.

Trump chooses team

Trump, who defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in last week's presidential election, has fewer than 70 days until his January 20 inauguration to choose his Cabinet members and fill other senior posts.

So far, he's only announced the appointment of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon as chief strategist. Democrats and some Republicans have raised concerns about the choice of Bannon, who is celebrated by white supremacists and anti-Semites. 

According to sources close to Trump, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Ambassador John Bolton were being considered for secretary of state. Giuliani is known as a hardliner on national security matters. Bolton, also a foreign policy hawk, last year said the United States should bomb Iran to halt its nuclear program.

Businessman Carl Icahn said on Twitter that the president-elect was considering choosing campaign finance chair and Wall Street veteran Steve Mnuchin as his treasury secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary.

nm/kl (AP, Reuters)

 

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