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Trump weighs cabinet picks with help of his children

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WASHINGTON: Donald Trump is to huddle Saturday with his White House transition team for a second day over cabinet picks.

Trump has shaken up his transition team by putting running mate Mike Pence in charge and named a cohort of Washington insiders — and three of his children — to help with the process of choosing a new cabinet.

The reshuffle came as anti-Trump protesters spilled onto the streets for a third straight night, with the Republican facing mounting calls to reassure Americans who fear a xenophobic crackdown under his authority.

Throngs of people — among them families and children — rallied late Friday in New York’s Washington Square carrying banners reading “Peace and Love” and “Your wall can’t stand in our way.” Local media estimated a turnout of some 4,000 protesters.

In Portland, Oregon, a demonstrator was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries after what police believe was a confrontation. The suspect then fled the area.

And more than 1,000 people gathered in Miami, with weekend protests planned in a number of other cities.

A focal point for New York protests is Trump Tower, where the real estate tycoon-turned-world-leader has been ensconced in his luxury apartment, mapping out his next steps.

The 70-year-old incoming president has a mammoth task of fleshing out his cabinet, as well as steering the complex transition of power, and announced on Friday he was elevating Vice President-elect Pence to lead the process.

Trump included three of his children and his son-in-law Jared Kushner on the transition team — a move likely to raise eyebrows, since the tycoon earlier announced that should he win he would place his vast business interests into a blind trust operated by Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump.

And in a clear shift from his abrasive campaign, he added to his transition team a string of insider figures from the very establishment that he railed against so strongly, including Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus — now tipped as a possible chief of staff.

Syrian conflict

On the Syrian conflict, however, Trump indicated a possible sharp shift away from Obama administration policy.

“I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” he told an international paper, suggesting a closer focus on fighting the Islamic State group — and arguing that in seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, “we end up fighting Russia,” the regime’s ally.

Trump has already spoken with a string of world leaders including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he reaffirmed Washington’s strong relations.

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