VP-elect Mike Pence to take over Trump transition team from Chris Christie

Pence to become head of Trump's transition team

Vice president-elect Mike Pence will take over Donald Trump's transition effort from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the president-elect looks to shape a policy team.

Trump is in the process of putting together a government after his surprise victory over Hillary Clinton this week. Notable Trump surrogates Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama will serve as vice chairs of the team, Trump announced Friday.

Some of those top transition officials have been floated as possible Cabinet picks in Trump's administration.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd as Vice president-elect Mike Pence looks on during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City.
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Trump also announced members of his transition team's executive committee, which includes his eldest children, top campaign figures and major donors.

That section of his team includes:

  • Donald Trump, Jr.
  • Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, a key Trump advisor
  • Eric Trump
  • Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus
  • Venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who donated $1.25 million to pro-Trump groups during his campaign
  • GOP megadonor Rebekah Mercer
  • Trump campaign finance chairman Steven Mnuchin
  • Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon

Other campaign officials including campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, deputy campaign manager David Bossie and spokespeople Jason Miller and Hope Hicks will also serve on the transition team.

"Together this outstanding group of advisors, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one," Trump said in a statement.

The president-elect plans to use Pence, who served in Congress before becoming Indiana's governor, to tap Washington contacts and move the transition along more quickly, The New York Times reported. While Christie has faced mounting criticism in his state after two aides were convicted in the "Bridgegate" lane closure scandal last week, sources told NBC News that Trump was displeased with the governor for not standing with him during tumultuous moments of the campaign.

Pence was seen as defending Trump more staunchly during his self-destructive campaign moments than Christie, who faded in importance during the campaign, sources told NBC News.

"I am proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people. They have prepared an outstanding template for President-elect Trump in all of the requested areas," Christie said in a statement.

"I want to thank President-Elect Trump for the opportunity to continue to help lead in this next phase and thank all of the pre-election leadership team for the outstanding work they have done over the six months leading up to Election Day."

Just Thursday, the Democratic leader of the New Jersey state senate called for the state's assembly to begin impeachment proceedings against Christie. The governor has insisted that he knew nothing about the lane closures until after they were disclosed.

The scheme was directed against a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Republican Christie in his re-election bid.

NBC News contributed reporting.