President-elect Donald Trump meets Japanese MP as focus turns to security

President-elect Donald Trump meets Japanese MP as focus turns to security

President-elect Donald Trump is deepening his focus on national security, meeting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, as well as a former secretary of state and a possible contender to be his top diplomat.

The foreign policy novice also rolled out new teams that will interact with the State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department and other national security agencies. The move is a crucial part of the government transition before Mr Trump's January 20 inauguration.

In Washington, Vice President-elect Mike Pence huddled with House Republicans on Capitol Hill and also planned to meet with Democratic leaders.

Lawmakers said part of Mr Pence's mission was to tell fellow Republicans that the transition effort was proceeding smoothly, despite reports of chaos and infighting.

"He just wanted to reassure that the team is working hard and they're working toward an agenda to do what's right for the American people," said representative Jim Renacci.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said she expected initial announcements of Cabinet choices to come "either before or after Thanksgiving" and told MSNBC's Morning Joe programme "It's Donald Trump and Donald Trump alone who makes the ultimate decisions".

Mr Trump planned to meet in New York with Mr Abe, his first get-together with a world leader as president-elect. He was also meeting with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who is said to be among Mr Trump's potential picks to lead the State Department.

Florida governor Rick Scott and Texas representative Jeb Hensarling were also scheduled to meet Mr Trump.

The president-elect's team was essentially starting its transition planning from scratch after scrapping much of the preliminary work New Jersey governor Chris Christie conducted during the campaign.

After winning the election, Mr Trump demoted Mr Christie and put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge.

The result has been a series of new additions to the transition team and several departures, mainly among those aligned with Mr Christie.

Trump aides and allies suggested some of the commotion within the transition team was to be expected given the enormous task at hand.

"The beginning of any transition like this has turmoil because it's just the nature of the process," former House speaker Newt Gingrich said as he left Mr Trump's transition headquarters in Washington.

He said the picture of Mr Trump's administration would become clearer over the next two or three weeks.

Former Michigan representative Pete Hoekstra, who has informally advised members of Mr Trump's national security team, blamed his detractors for the reports of drama.

"When you're doing a transition that is trying to push the kind of change that Mr Trump wants to be doing, it's going to be even harder," Mr Hoekstra, a former House Intelligence Committee chairman, said.

But others close to the transition process described advisers "fighting for power".

Mr Trump has long stoked internal rivalries among his staff - both in his businesses and his campaign - and has created ambiguity in his transition about who has authority to make key decisions.

Aides noted that President Barack Obama waited until a few weeks after the 2008 election to announce many of his Cabinet appointments.

Mr Trump appeared to be weighing an eclectic mix of individuals for top Cabinet posts, including longtime loyalists, former rivals and even a Democrat.

Transition officials said he met Eva Moskowitz, a former New York councilwoman and charter school founder who is being considered for education secretary.

She took herself out of the running on Thursday, declaring, "At this time I will not be entertaining any prospective opportunities."

Other meetings included representative Tom Price, a potential pick for health and human services; Ray Washburne, a Dallas businessman and top GOP fundraiser in the mix for commerce secretary, and representative Mike Pompeo.

New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson were also spotted near the lobby's gilded elevators on Wednesday.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been a regular presence at Trump Tower, has been angling for secretary of state, though his consulting work for foreign governments has emerged as a potential roadblock.

Mr Trump is also said to be seriously considering John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, for the top diplomatic job.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, who tangled ferociously with Mr Trump during the Republican primary but ultimately endorsed the businessman, could get a top job such as attorney general.

An official said, however, he is not viewed as a top contender.

Trump aides said he had spoken with the leaders of Azerbaijan, The Netherlands and Poland, part of 32 world leaders who have spoken with Mr Trump or Mr Pence in recent days. Most of the calls had previously only been confirmed by those leaders' governments.

AP

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