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President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Trump's transition team lays out a plan to move forward with executive branch staffing


News coming from President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has been sparse, but that's slowly starting to change. Last night and this morning  Sean Spicer and Jason Miller, spokesmen for the transition, held a conference call for reporters to give an update on the transition team's activities. 

They named who Trump had met with on Wednesday as well as who he will meet with Thursday, and explained the transition teams rules on lobbying. Some of the people Trump met with are being considered for cabinet-level positions. 

Who's Trump meeting with?

On Wednesday Trump met with: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.); Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.); Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); retired Gen. Mike Flynn; and Steve Feinberg, founder of Cerberus Capital Management.

On Thursday Trump will meet with: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.); Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex); retired Gen. Jack Keane; Adm. Mike Rogers; former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell; and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Transition team updates

Trump's transition team will being naming their "landing teams" Thursday, starting with teams for the State Department, Justice Department, National Security Council and Defense Department. Next week they will announce the landing teams for economic agencies and domestic policy.

Landing teams will embed with the agencies they are assigned to in order to get a sense of how they operate, to minimize the learning curve after Trump is sworn into office.

Lobbying ban

Each member of the landing team will have to sign a lobbying ban form. The form stipulates that they cease any lobbying they are doing by terminating their status as a lobbyist, and will have to agree not to lobby for five years after they leave government. 

Spicer said that the ban "goes back to Mr. Trump's goal of making sure people aren't using government to enrich themselves." There will also be a lifetime ban on representing any foreign government.

The lobbying ban, in part, reads: "By signing below I certify that I am not currently registered and reporting as a federal lobbyist, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act as amended or a compensated lobbyist at the state level in any state. If I was listed as a lobbyist on the most recent Lobbying Disclosure Form or report required to be filed by federal or state law I hereby notify the president-elect's transition team that I have signed the necessary form or forms to the appropriate government agencies to terminate my status as a registered lobbyist." 

More communication with reporters

Additionally, the transition team -- which up to now has been stingy with any information about the transition process --  will begin daily conference calls with reporters to give the latest updates. 

The early days of the transition process has been filled with leaks about potential cabinet selections and gossip about personnel turnover. Both Gov. Chris Christie and former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) have left the transition team. 

So far, no one has been named to any cabinet post, but the speculation has run rampant. 

Former Gen. Mike Flynn has been reported to be Trump's selection for National Security Advisor. 

Gov. Nikki Haley is reportedly being considered for Secretary of State, though Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani also were rumored to be considered for the post. 

None of these rumors have been confirmed.

Reaching out to more establishment Republicans

In addition to the announced meetings, a source tells Circa that Trump has met with Joe Hagin, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, as well as Jared Weinstein, former special assistant and personal aide to President George W. Bush.

The source, who is intimately involved with the transition, stressed that these meetings show that there is "no fence around Trump Tower," and that Trump is getting "advice from people who have been there." 

Arms wide open to people who weren't supportive of the candidate but are supportive of the president-elect.
Trump transition source

Gov. Nikki Haley, for example, was a critic of Trump's proposed Muslim ban and a vocal supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio during the GOP primary fight.

The source also said the notion that as CNN reported there is a "knife fight" taking place within the transition team is false.

Continuing his outreach to people who did not back his campaign, on Thursday Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, said that they are working on setting up a meeting with 2012 GOP nominee former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA). 

Sen. Jeff Session (R-AL), an early Trump supporter, addressed the Romney meeting in a press gaggle at Trump Tower saying, "I think its good that the President-elect is meeting with people like Mr. Romney."

He is meeting with a a lot of talented people he needs good relationships with.
Sen. Jeff Sessions

Sessions who sat in on meetings with Trump on Thursday indicated that Romney, despite his past objections to Trump, could be up for a Cabinet post. "I think Mr. Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things," Sessions said. "He will be one those I am sure will be reviewed and Mr. Trump will make that decision." 

Trump's transition team lays out a plan to move forward with executive branch staffing

Sessions discussing Romney with the press in Trump Tower.

60 Second Circa for Thursday AM, Nov. 17, 2016

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