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Christie replaced by Pence as leader of Trump transition

Gov. Christie has been replaced by vice president-elect Mike Pence as the chairman of Donald Trump’s White House transition team.

Gov. Christie has been replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence as the chairman of Donald Trump's White House transition team.

Christie is now a vice chairman of the team, along with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the team announced Friday.

In addition to the governor's replacement, two Christie confidants who were on the transition team -- Rich Bagger, a former Christie chief of staff, and Bill Palatucci, a longtime adviser -- will return to the private sector. Bagger and Palatucci will still remain as advisers to the team.

The team – which also announced an executive committee that includes three of Trump's children and his son-in-law, among others – "will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help build a transformative government ready to lead from day one," Trump said in a statement.

The team didn't disclose why Pence replaced Christie.

In a statement Friday, Christie said he was "proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people."

"As we now enter the post-election phase, I look forward to working with Vice President-elect Pence and the rest of the leadership team to implement that template as we prepare for January 20, 2017," he said.

The governor was named the transition team chairman in May. While he was passed over this summer as Trump's running mate, Christie's political prospects have been a topic of renewed speculation in the aftermath of Trump's election.

In an interview on NBC's Today Thursday, Christie – whose term as governor ends in January 2018 – said he had not talked with Trump about a potential job in his administration.

"The president-elect was absolutely adamant about not discussing the transition before he was elected," Christie said. "And so he said to me back in May … you focus on getting this ready for me, and we'll talk on election night. So we spoke on election night, but we didn't speak about me. We spoke about the transition."

Of whether he would want a certain White House job, "the bottom line is I have a job to do to help get the administration ready," Christie said.