Both Clinton and Trump are known for relying on an insular group of advisers
Campaign aides are expected to help fill White House staff positions on both sides
One thing a possible Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton administration would have in common – DC insiders.
As the election reaches its final day, Washington has fallen into the quadrennial parlor game of speculating about who might staff the White House and Cabinet. And the list of potential names from campaign and transition sources is starting to take shape, at least in terms of the options the president-elect will have to start with on Wednesday.
Both Clinton and Trump have relied upon an insular group of advisers this year. But while Clinton’s draws from a deep bench of longtime Democratic policymakers and operatives, Trump’s circle is built from a much smaller group of Republicans who bucked their party leaders to embrace Trump early in the process.
For Trump, many of the names being thrown out for top Cabinet positions are the same small group of Republican politicians he has acting as his surrogates – political veterans who on the face of it are the opposite of his “Drain the Swamp” battle cry on the trail.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Gov. Rudy Giuliani, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have been early and ardent Trump supporters, and they figure to be rewarded in a Trump administration.
Christie, Sessions, Giuliani and Gingrich appear on different lists of potential appointments ranging from White House chief of staff, to attorney general, to Homeland Security secretary.
Other names from Trump’s frequent surrogates list that are rumored as potential picks include retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn for national security adviser, CIA director or national intelligence director and Ben Carson for secretary of Health and Human Services. Flynn cannot be secretary of Defense due to a rule requiring Defense secretaries be seven years out of active duty. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is rumored to be in the mix for a position, as is Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
Campaign staffers for Trump are also expected to have a place in the administration. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, deputy campaign manager David Bossie, chief executive Stephen Bannon, spokeswoman Hope Hicks and senior communications adviser Jason Miller are all rumored for White House positions including deputy chiefs of staff and advisers. Hicks and Miller are also possible communications directors and Miller may be press secretary.
Finance chairman Steven Mnuchin has been floated for Treasury, as has Trump friend and businessman Carl Icahn. For secretary of state, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and former ambassador to the UN John Bolton’s names have come up.
Clinton’s list is also predictable in that it draws from a stable of longtime Democratic party insiders.
Potential names for Clinton’s chief of staff include former vice presidential chief of staff Ron Klain, campaign Chairman John Podesta, top aide Jake Sullivan, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS Secretary Silvia Mathews Burwell. Sullivan is also the top contender for national security adviser.
Clinton is also thought to be likely to build her White House team from her list of campaign staff, including longtime aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, campaign manager Robby Mook and engagement chief Marlon Marshall. Communications director could be Jennifer Palmieri, who plays that role on the campaign, or longtime aide Philippe Reines. And campaign press secretary Brian Fallon is seen as a likely White House press secretary.
In the Cabinet, possible secretaries of Defense include former Undersecretary Michele Flournoy and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed. Current Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former associate attorney general and current Labor secretary, is on the shortlist for attorney general.
Possible secretaries of state include career diplomat Bill Burns, former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former Undersecretary Nick Burns and former Undersecretary Wendy Sherman – all of whom could also be ambassadors to the UN. Vice President Joe Biden’s name was also floated for State, but he shot down the rumor in an interview.
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former California Rep. Jane Harman are the likely candidates for CIA director or director of national intelligence.
For Treasury, names include Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler – who is also on the list for Commerce secretary, with Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.
Former Michigan governor and Clinton surrogate Jennifer Granholm is a leading contender for Labor, and Clinton could retain current Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz or name Podesta to the position.
Both Clinton and Trump are expected to be flooded with resumes if they were to win, as people all over the country eye coveted posts in the White House and Cabinet.
The transition team will have just over 70 days before inauguration to vet names and begin to build a staff.
A president has 4,000 appointments to make, 1,100 of which require Senate confirmation, but most administrations only get a few hundred of those in place in the first few months in office. In fact, only about 80% of the positions are ever filled, on average, at any point in an administration.
CNN’s Elise Labott, Kevin Liptak, Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez contributed to this report.