Trump transition shake-up part of 'Stalinesque purge' of Christie loyalists

President-elect Donald Trump is shaking up his transition effort just a week after his upset win, ousting former Rep. Mike Rogers from the team in what one source called a "Stalinesque purge of people close" to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Rogers confirmed his exit in a statement that said that, despite his departure, he planned to continue to "provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration."

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"It was a privilege to prepare and advise the policy, personnel and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio during the initial pre-election planning phase. Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday," Rogers said in the statement.

Rogers was initially seen as a leading candidate for CIA director, but now is likely off the list, a source tells NBC News. Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is now a top contender.

Figures that Politico has named as possible picks for Trump's cabinet

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Donald Trump's rumored picks for his administration
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Donald Trump's rumored picks for his administration

Trump named Jeff Sessions his pick for U.S. attorney general. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump named Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn his pick for National Security Adviser. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Newt Gingrich is rumored to be among Trump's top picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Mitt Romney has reportedly been in discussions for secretary of state. 

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Ted Cruz was believed to be under consideration for Trump's attorney general

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Steven Mnuchin is rumored to be Trump's top pick for Treasury Secretary. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
 

Bob Corker is also rumored to be among Trump's picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Stephen Hadley is rumored to be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Jim Talent is rumored to also be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Tim Parker 

Rudy Giuliani was also rumored to be among Trump's top picks for attorney general. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Forrest Lucas is rumored to be Trump's top pick for Interior Secretary. ( Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Robert Grady is also being eyed for the Interior Secretary position.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser 

Donald Trump Jr. is also said to have interest in the Interior Secretary position. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Sam Brownback is also one of the several names being considered for Agriculture Secretary. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Billionaire Wilbur Ross is a rumored choice for Commerce Secretary. FINANCE-WLROSS/ REUTERS/Tim Chong 

Daniel Dimicco, a Trump Trade Advisor is also on the possible list for Commerce Secretary.  REUTERS/Chris Keane 

Rick Scott is considered to be a top contender for Health and Human Services Secretary.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

Jeff Miller's name has been bounced around many times for the Veterans Affairs Secretary position. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Myron Bell who has been a part of Trump's transition team is rumored to be the top pick for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator position. 

Photo Credit: Twitter/oliverwasow

Representative Tom Price of Georgia is being considered for the position of secretary of health and human services.

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

John Bolton is yet another rumored pick for secretary of state. 

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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His departure follows Christie's demotion from head of the team to a vice-chair, with Vice President-elect Mike Pence taking over for him last week.

The purge indicates the emphasis on loyalty — and significant influence of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka — that characterized Trump's campaign will carry over into his White House.

Multiple sources indicated that Christie was demoted because he wasn't seen as sufficiently loyal to Trump, failing to vocally defend him at key moments on the campaign trail.

But he has long been in a precarious position with Trump, due in part, multiple sources say, to a longstanding grudge sparked when Christie prosecuted Kushner's father in 2004. Due to Christie's investigation, Charles Kushner eventually pleaded guilty to 18 felony counts, including tax fraud and witness tampering, and was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Rogers' exit and Christie's demotion are the latest wrinkles in a transition process that's gotten off to a rocky start following Trump's unexpected blowout win last week.

Trump over the weekend named RNC Chair Reince Priebus his chief of staff and Breitbart Founder Steve Bannon chief strategist, earning plaudits with the first but backlash over the former, because of Bannon's controversial comments on minorities and Breitbart's often incendiary reporting, among other issues.

25 PHOTOS
Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
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Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee stands at the main podium as he previews the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. on July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus (R) address supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S. on November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump chats with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus while watching Super Bowl LI at Trump International Golf Club Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Florida on February 5, 2017. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive for a joing press conference by US President Donald Trump and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the East Room of the White House on February 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (C) as Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) looks onat election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 21 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) talks to RNC Chair Reince Priebus at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gavels the convention to order at the start of the first session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
US President Donald Trump holds an executive memorandum on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House on January 28, 2017, in Washington, DC. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (3rd L) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (2nd L) joined Trump. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 7: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus listens during a meeting with county sheriffs in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 07, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), US Vice President Mike Pence (C) and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner watch from the Rose Garden as Marine One carrying US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka takes off from the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed William 'Ryan' Owens early January 29, in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff-elect, from left, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, dine at Jean Georges Restaurant in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Congressional Republicans are considering a lightning-strike rollback of Obamacare early next year to kick off the Trump era, but first they have to agree on a plan limited enough to hold their caucus together. Photographer: John Angelillo/Pool via Bloomberg
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus hold his hand over his heart for the U.S. Naitonal Anthem at the start of the first session of the at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon walk as they depart the White House, accompanying U.S. President Donald Trump for a trip to South Carolina and Florida, in Washington, U.S., February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (2ndL) arrive for a news conference by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02: (AFP OUT) White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus attends a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and executives and union representatives from the Harley Davidson company at the White House on February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. At the end of the photo opportunity, Trump said 'nothing is off the table' in relation to current disagreements between the U.S. and Iran. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) looks on as President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Saturday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from Japan, Germany, Russia, France and Australia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 28: (L to R) White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus speaks with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Saturday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from Japan, Germany, Russia, France and Australia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, is seen on the West Front of the Capitol after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, January 20, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and wife Sally Priebus arrive for the 58th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States today, in a celebration of American unity for a country that is anything but unified. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus is escorted by Madeleine Westerhaut as he arrives for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump and Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, embrace during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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In a separate development, Eliot Cohen, a senior State Department official under George W. Bush who blasted Trump during the campaign, ripped into the president-elect's transition effort Tuesday.

Cohen, one of 122 Republican national security figures who signed an open letter last spring opposing Trump's candidacy, had written an essay last week in which he suggested that military and intelligence officials "continue to do their jobs."

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