NEW YORK – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said he expected to have most members of his Cabinet announced next week, interviewing more candidates at Trump Tower for top jobs in his administration as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20.The Republican president-elect said on Thursday he had chosen retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as defense secretary and would make a formal announcement on that on Monday. Trump is still weighing who to choose as secretary of state. “We have tremendous people joining the Cabinet and beyond the Cabinet. You’ll be seeing almost all of them next week,” Trump said in an interview that aired on Friday on Fox News. Trump plans to move quickly after taking office on his goals to overhaul taxation, healthcare and immigration laws, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in an interview published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Top priorities include curbing illegal immigration, abolishing and replacing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare program, and filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court, Pence told the newspaper. Asked what he would do on his first day in office, Trump told Fox News he may address his campaign pledge to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, though he did not go into specifics. “We could do the wall, we’re going to do some repealing, we’re going to do some executive orders that we think are inappropriate,” Trump told Fox, referring to the possibility of reversing executive orders issued by Obama, a Democrat, during his eight-year term. CEOs TO ADVISE ON POLICY Trump famously pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington during his campaign for the White House, a populist message of change that caught fire with his supporters. But he has staffed his transition team mostly with government veterans and former lobbyists. He turned to Wall Street for his nominees for the Treasury and Commerce departments. “We’re getting credit for having one of the great Cabinets ever picked,” Trump said on Fox. “These are people of great distinction, great success, which is what you need.” On Friday, he named an advisory panel led by the chief executive of Blackstone, the world’s biggest alternative asset manager, stacked with executives from some of America’s largest companies, like Wal Mart Stores Inc, Boeing Co and International Business Machines Corp . Trump is weighing who to put in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces immigration law and plays a key role in preventing terror attacks; a director of national intelligence; and several Cabinet posts dealing with energy and the environment. On Friday, Jay Cohen, former under secretary of Homeland Security for science and technology and a retired Navy rear admiral, told reporters in Trump Tower that he interviewed for a position he would not reveal. “Cyber security was discussed, and I believe that President-elect Trump understands fully the magnitude of that challenge,” Cohen said. Trump has narrowed the field for secretary of state to four candidates, including the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who attacked Trump throughout the 2016 campaign but spoke glowingly of the president-elect after having dinner with him earlier this week. “There was actually good chemistry,” Trump said on Fox. Trump also has been taking calls from dozens of foreign leaders, and on Friday spoke by phone with Rodrigo Duterte, the maverick leader of the Philippines, a key U.S. ally in Asia. Duterte, known for his deadly war on drugs, had sparred with Obama, who canceled a planned meeting with him in September. Duterte invited Trump to visit his country next year. As Trump forms his administration, the Green Party is seeking a recount of the vote in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Such recounts would be extremely unlikely to overturn Trump’s victory over his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton. On Friday, supporters of Trump, including Michigan’s Republican attorney general, pursued legal challenges in those three states aimed at halting the recount.
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RALEIGH Two lawmakers from coastal North Carolina filed a bill Monday to encourage the Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow shellfish cultivation and aquaculture activities in North Carolina waters […]