Trump's Transition Team Works to Form Cabinet

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WASHINGTON�Donald Trump's transition team raced to form his cabinet on Thursday as more names were floated for some of the biggest jobs in the president-elect's administration, including a foe of financial regulation for the powerful position of Treasury secretary.

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican known for his sharp criticism of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul, is among a growing list of potential nominees for the cabinet as speculation increased about who would surround the new president in office, people familiar with the discussions said.

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The transition process has ramped up in recent days, people familiar with the matter said, adding that the team is far from making final recommendations to Mr. Trump. An initial website for the transition went online on Wednesday, and Mr. Trump has yet to name a chief of staff, which is typically the first announcement for a new administration.

The time between Election Day and Inauguration Day in January is often turbulent as an incoming administration faces a multitude of critical decisions in a tight span. In addition, to picking his top staff, the president-elect must vet and fill a cabinet composed of 15 executive departments and a host of other aides who have cabinet rank.

The incoming administration also must begin selecting about 1,000 top positions that require Senate confirmation, sketch out an agenda for the first few months of its term, write an inauguration speech and plan the ceremony.

In a sign of the fluidity of the situation, senior staff is still being added to the transition team. For example, PayPal co-founder and tech billionaire Peter Thiel is under consideration to play a senior role on that team, a person familiar with the matter said. The consideration of Mr. Thiel was reported by the Huffington Post.

In addition to Mr. Hensarling, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) was being discussed as a potential defense secretary or attorney general, several people familiar with the process said.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who played a prominent role in the Trump campaign, is also expected to have a place in the next administration. Mr. Giuliani has also been discussed as a possible attorney general or secretary of state, people familiar with the discussions said.

Dan DiMicco, a former steel executive who has been sharply critical of U.S. trade policies, has been an influential voice on Mr. Trump's policy team and may find a high-profile job in the administration, two transition team members said. A potential commerce secretary is Ray Washburne, a Dallas-based investor and former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Mr. DiMicco told The Wall Street Journal he was running the transition team for U.S. trade, but "nothing more at this point."

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is in the running for homeland security secretary, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Hensarling's Texas roots could offer a contrast to other potential picks to run Treasury, particularly those with the kind of Wall Street ties about which Mr. Trump railed during the campaign. Mr. Hensarling said in an interview on Thursday that he would "certainly have the discussion" if the Trump administration came calling.

"But I'm not anticipating the telephone call," he added. "It is not something I've indicated interest in. It is not something I am pursuing.�I think I'm in a pretty good position now to advance the cause."

Mr. Hensarling, a former congressional aide who now represents the Dallas area, is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, a panel on which he has served for more than a decade. He has pursued top GOP priorities such as rolling back the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a former member of the House and Indiana governor, and Rep. Hensarling worked closely together in Congress and their views on many financial issues are closely aligned. Mr. Hensarling had backed Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) for president during the Republican primary, but he praised Mr. Trump for selecting Mr. Pence as his running mate.

Mr. Hensarling has been a leading critic of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which finances American exports. The Export-Import Bank's charter lapsed for nearly five months last year after Mr. Hensarling led a campaign to block its reauthorization.

The bank has been unable this year to back deals larger than $10 million because the Senate hasn't filled vacant board positions.

Mr. Hensarling also sought to pass legislation in 2013 that would phase out government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a piece of unfinished business from the 2008 financial crisis that the Trump administration is likely to inherit.

Ryan Tracy and William Mauldin contributed to this article.

Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com and Damian Paletta at damian.paletta@wsj.com