Mike Rogers leaves Trump transition team
(CNN) — Former congressman Mike Rogers announced in a statement Tuesday he parted ways with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, removing an establishment national security voice from the planning process of the next president’s Cabinet.
According to a source familiar with the transition, Rogers was told Monday on the phone that he was out. The source said this was part of an effort to replace the transition team members associated with Chris Christie, who previously headed up the transition team’s efforts until being replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Rogers, who had been working on the transition team for months under Christie, was sidelined as the campaign and transitions merged into one presidential team, with members of Trump’s inner circle that were with him through the campaign taking more prominent roles in the transition, according to one source familiar with the transition activity.
But another source, a longtime Christie associate, cautioned that there was no “purge” of Christie staff, the team that began the transition months ago, and that such a characterization is “overblown.” While some Christie staff have left, others are continuing on with the transition team.
The Christie associate said it makes sense that Pence would want some of his own people involved now that he is running the effort.
Rogers positively described his time period working with the transition team as a “privilege,” in a statement to reporters, and said he was handing off his responsibilities as a national security adviser to the transition organization to Pence and “the stellar new leadership team.”
“I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again,” Rogers said in the statement.
The news of Rogers’ departure was first reported by Bloomberg.
Rogers’ participation in the transition team was seen as a heartening sign for traditional GOP national security advisers.
Sources tied to the transition team talking to CNN described the organization’s internal disagreements — mainly divided along the lines of establishment Republican operatives against more non-traditional influences on national security issues — as a “knife fight” on Monday.
Rogers chaired the House Intelligence Committee while he was in Congress and is an Army veteran and former FBI agent with an expertise in national security
He has also been critical of Russia’s role in recent hacking episodes, including the hacks of Democratic political groups during the election which the US government attributed to high levels of Russian government. Trump repeatedly declined to acknowledge Russia’s role, saying the evidence was inconclusive.