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GARY LEGUM – The ultimate inside job: Donald Trump’s transition team is a sordid new swamp of lobbyists, donors, family and Republican retreads

One could almost feel sorry for Chris Christie, if that dignity train had not left the station months ago. Tapped to lead Donald Trump’s transition team after he was passed over in favor of Mike Pence for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, Christie was replaced as head of the team on Friday by … Mike Pence.

The move is unsurprising for two reasons: For one, Pence is a former congressman who served with some of Capitol Hill’s current leaders. The New York Times reportedthat, with the campaign — along with most of the rest of the civilized world — caught somewhat off-guard by Trump’s surprise win, there was a need to ramp the process up quickly. That means letting Pence and his closest aides tap contacts throughout Washington for help, contacts that Christie likely lacks.

The second reason is Christie’s legal status over the Bridgegate affair, which remains unclear in the wake of the recent convictions of two of his close aides. There is still a slight chance he could be indicted on charges related to the scandal, or possibly impeached by New Jersey’s legislature. No wonder he said this week he would be “open” to taking a job in the Trump administration, depending on what job he is offered. Ladies and gentleman, please meet the Special Oval Office Assistant for McRib Runs, Chris Christie.

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